Music For Mondays: Nathaniel Rateliff

I’m not going to write a post today. 

April Fools! Man, I totally got you right? No? Your dumb

This past weekend was Easter and was officially my first “Bachelor” weekend I have had in a long time. My ladyfriend left to go see her parents and that let me go hang out with the men up in Fort Collins. Not only that I got to see one of my favorite local artists of all time. Nathaniel Rateliff. And with it being such a kind of gloomy, overcast next few days I couldn’t help but talk about some music that will fit well with this melancholy mood.

Nathaniel’s songs are rooted in a bygone era – both fresh and classic, imbued with a melancholy nostalgia, the rough honesty of rock ‘n roll’s past and the warmth and earnestness of folk storytellers.-Decca Records

Nathaniel Rateliff is a Colorado Music Scene staple. If you asked my personal opinion, I would gladly say that he is the flagship for the post-modern hipster folk movement made famous by bands like Mumford and Sons or the Lumineers. A Denver transplant from Missouri at Eighteen, he is a self taught guitarist and singer that, as previously stated, is a folk-pop here of Denver and his album, In Memory of Loss, was on Amazon’s top albums you may have missed in 2010. His music speaks at a deep level similar in vein to the Mountain Goats with genuine sincerity and storytelling that evokes feelings of love, loss, and charm. Although he hasn’t had mainstread radio recognition, he is world renowned playing with all the standard pop folk artists like the Low Anthem, Iron and Wine, and everyone’s favorite tumblr, Bon Iver.

My first experience with Nathaniel Rateliff was one of those life changing moments and one of enlightenment. Way back when in the year 2006, I was working at my college radio station as the Music Director I had no local music experience. In fact, the most local I got to the music scene was DeVotchka and that was because of Little Miss Sunshine and Amelie. I really had no idea Colorado even had any famous bands. But one night I was invited to a show that included the Hot IQ’s and Born in the Flood, both based out of Denver. Born in the Flood was one of Mr. Rateliff’s first music projects and I was so sad to hear when the broke up. Needless to say I will never forget that concert. When Mr. Rateliff came out to play their song This is an Anthem something happened in me that I can’t quite explain. The music piereced something inside of me and touched me on such an emotional level that I almost fell to my knees. When he played his music it didn’t just speak to my ears, it spoke to my soul. The pain and emotion in his music was years above anything I had ever heard. I was enthralled on such a level that I have never been able to explain what happened that day. I also remember when he was playing we made eye contact and when we did I could see the pain he lives with and the emotion that he holds onto and only releases when he plays music.

Needless to say after that concert I was hooked. Not only could I absorb anything and everything that Nathaniel Rateliff played, but I become a strong proponent and supporter of the local music scene. His impact went so far with me that I helped usher in local music focused airtime on 90.5KCSU, I helped with the planning and implementation of the Fort Collins Music Experiment 2 day festival and helped to lay the groundwork for SpokesBuzz, a local music non-profit. I even have gone so far to write articles for local and national magazines including the Coloradoan and the Colorado Music Buzz in Denver. Colorado has such a large scene that has so much music and so much talent to offer the world that it breaks my heart when I listen to the radio and hear the same crap over and over. But I love it that some of my good friends like Post Paradise, The Epilogues, Hot Iq’s (RIP), Everything Absent or Distorted, The Knew, and many other have a place where they can be expressed.

Needless to say, I think that Nathaniel Rateliff’s music speaks for itself. With his current band, formerly known as the 5 wheels, Mr. Rateliff has created a folk sound that is so far above what we define traditionally as a folk sound. His music uses traditional string instruments to amplify the harmonies between himself and the rest of the band. Not only that, his use of falsetto really emphasises the pain and turmoil that this man has gone through in his life. Please sit down with a nice coffee or whiskey and enjoy some music that will touch you in a way that only music can.


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