Saturday, 19 March 2011

The Evening's Artist - Nathaniel Rateliff

This will be the first in an ongoing series of posts on my favorite new artists, or 'The evening's artist' as i'm so wittily calling it. I'll try and keep them to small artists, as there is no point in me informing you of my love for Queen or Bruce Springsteen (of which there is much). So, without much further ado:

Nathaniel Rateliff

Image thanks to SSG Music
'Who is Nathaniel Rateliff?' I hear you ask. Well he's not just the owner of one of the finest mustaches you're ever likely to see, although this is certainly true (seriously, Google search it, it's immense). This guy was unknown to me too until a month ago, however, since that point his songs have barely stopped being played on my iPod, Spotify or YouTube.

So lets fill you in: Nathaniel Rateliff is a young, folk troubadour from Denver, Colorado. His beautifully rich baritone voice perfectly compliments the music's sparse sound. Although called Nathaniel Rateliff, this is technically a band (featuring five other members), yes, 'much like Avril Lavigne' I hear you say. However, as the frontman, singer and guitarist he remains the focal point in the music. His music seems routed in folk and country routes, with songs often revolving around bleak imagery.

His debut effort 'In Memory of Loss' was a series of recordings he made on his 8-track, which were later transformed into a full 16 song album by producer Brian Deck (Iron & Wine, Modest Mouse). It really is a beautiful album, and one that deserves considerably more success and attention (though it hasn't gone completely unnoticed). The two things that are immediately noticeable on this album are: Nathaniel's voice and the huge amount of audio space on the tracks. Nathaniel's voice varies between a quiet swoon (on the intro to 'Once in a Great While') before breaking into more of a definitive shout ('Shrowd'), drawing similarities to Caleb Followill of 'Kings of Leon'. Instrumentation is used sparsely, with most songs just featuring guitar and vocals (though piano, harmonica and drums do also crop up from time to time) but all this focuses the listeners attention to the lyrics and swooning vocals harmonies.

16 songs is perhaps a few too many, and by the end of the album the impact of these tails of heartbreak and despair is somewhat lessened; however, there are some really incredible, heartfelt tracks on this album. It is available on Spotify, iTunes and Amazon and I would highly recommend you give the below a listen and if you like what you hear, buy the album.

For fans of - Bon Iver, Kurt Wagner and Leonard Cohen

'It's taken years to make a beautiful shroud'

1 comment:

  1. Your writing really comes alive when you begin talking about your passions dude. Really enjoyable to read.