I have a Canadian friend to thank for introducing me to Nick Drake. I'd never heard of him, but as soon as I listened to the superb melodies, the strong guitar playing and--best of all--Nick Drake's gentle, almost frail voice, I was hooked. I'm keen on choosing music which matches my mood, and Nick Drake is perfect Autumn listening. In fact the lyrics do contain several direct references to Autumn, but the music itself is quietly melancholy and perfect when the nights start drawing in.
Drake's music is a combination of modern British folk music, with echoes of the blues. If you can imagine persuading a slightly shy but very musical friend to play for you, while you sit in front of a roaring log fire late at night, drinking tea, then you have the essence of his music. He suffered from depression, and tragically comitted suicide before his music became really popular. There are chillingly prophetic songs like 'Black Dog' and 'Fruit Tree' where he seems to foretell his own future: "Fame is but a fruit tree/So very unsound/It can never flourish/Till its stalk is in the ground".
There's a certain melancholy in all of his songs, but some are uplifting at the same time. From 'Northern Sky':
I never felt magic crazy as this I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea I never held emotion in the palm of my hand Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree But now you're here Brighten my northern sky
There are several great Nick Drake albums, but this is a good one to start with if you don't know his music. I don't think that there's any artist alive today who produces music quite like Nick Drake, and this album is worth listening to for that reason alone.