Nathaniel Rateliff

  • Folk/Americana/R&B singer songwriter and musician born in 1978, in St. Louis Missouri.
  • Rateliff grew up in rural Missouri, playing gospel music with his family. When he was 13, his father was killed in an automobile accident – Rateliff responded by learning to play guitar and writing songs, listening mostly to Christian rock music. He moved to Denver with his friend Joseph Pope to do missionary work, but he began to question his faith. He left the missionary and became a carpenter, then worked at a trucking depot, and finally he became a gardener. All the while, he and Pope played music, performing classic rock and garage rock originals. By 2002, they called themselves Born In the Flood and they were performing in regional music festivals.
  • In 2007, Born In the Flood released an independent album titled If This Thing Should Spill. Rateliff received an offer for a recording contract, but he turned it down and started writing more somber, introspective songs. He started performing this music as Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel, with Pope and others joining him as The Wheel. For a while, Rateliff fronted both Born In the Flood and The Wheel, but by late 2007, he turned his full attention to The Wheel, releasing an album titled Desire and Dissolving Men. 
  • The Wheel continued to perform, and Rateliff further developed his stage presence. He also started performing as a solo artist, and a record label signed him. He released 2 solo albums – In Memory of Loss in 2010 and Falling Faster Than You Can Run in 2013. To support his second solo album, he toured as an opening act with The Lumineers.  While he was developing a cult following, he continued to be relatively unknown.
  • In 2013, while still working as a solo act, he was writing new music that was rowdy and soulful that required a band. So, he formed a new band, called Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, with Pope again as a band member, as well as 5 other artists contributing horns, drums, guitars and keyboards. The band played frequently in the Denver area and developed a reputation for putting on a raucous show.
  • In 2015, they released an album, the self titled Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats. Reportedly, it was Rateliff’s last attempt to make a career out of music. The album attempted to capture the energy of a live show, recorded in the studio. The album was a hit – it reached #17 on the Billboard 200, #2 on the Alternative Albums chart and #1 on the Folk Albums chart. The band performed at the Newport Folk Festival, Coachella, Monterey Pop, and on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, performing the song S.O.B. The exposure took the single to #1 on the Adult Alternative Songs chart and #3 on the Alternative Songs chart. Over the next 2 years, 3 more songs from the album charted – Rateliff had finally made it.
  • The Night Sweats released an EP in 2016, a live album of a performance at Red Rocks Amphitheater in 2017, and a studio album, Tearing At the Seams, in 2018. Their most recent album has 2 songs that peaked at #1 on the Adult Alternative Songs chart – You Worry Me and Hey Mama – and a third single, A Little Honey, peaked at #2.
  • The band is in the middle of an extensive tour to support their latest album, headlining festivals and playing at major venues throughout the U.S. and Canada. I think they sound like a 2019 version of The Blues Brothers or The Band. If you like the sound of vintage R&B, you should give Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats a listen. Watch the video to S.O.B. – they perform the song in front of an audience of prisoners – just like the end of the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.

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