It took the man crossing the ocean and performing on a foreigner’s late night talk show to catch mine ear. And when I thought him a native Englishman, it turned out Nathaniel Rateliff is based in Denver, Colorado. His performance on Later with Jools Holland led me to believe he was this burgeoning new U.K talent, when really he’s been making with bands of all kinds in the states for over 9 years. The most notable was Born in the Flood, an Indie Rock band that has some great tunes to offer, gave Rateliff a communal setting to collaborate with other men of similar style. His newer material, first as Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel, and now as simply himself, is more desperately confessional. Off on his own, he has more space and time to do exactly what he wants: lofty tales of wiley women and lonesome moments, which therefore leads to the occasional drinking song. His 2010 In Memory of Loss is full of heart rending songs of all kinds; sometimes ache flows out, sometimes mirth.
Either way, it shouldn’t take a foreign finger to point towards talent that lives under the frequently opaque name of “Singer/Songwriter” here at home. Nathaniel Rateliff bellows explosively, making sharing his soul look damn easy. Watch the clip of his live performance of In Memory of Loss tune “Early Spring Till”, on Jools Holland to see what I mean. And if you’re wondering like I was, the woman singing wonderfully next to him is bandmate Julie Davis.
And yes, I purposely ignored the Harry Potter thing.
(In Memory of Loss is available now from Rounder Records)