Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
I was excited to see my first artist that hails from Missouri. I mean, I grew up in Southeast Missouri, but Nataniel Rateliff grew up in the teeny town of Bay, Missouri. Population just a hair larger than 50. He used his early years to discover his creative passion for the guitar and drums, often citing his small town as to how he became interested in creating music. Rateliff is still relatively new to his own solo work, having previously toured in a small band called The Wheel. They all are even sometimes billed as Nathaniel Rateliff and The Wheel. The Wheel’s album, Desire and Dissolving Men was released this past year. While having a similar sound, it is not his own, individual musings. Nathaniel Rateliff’s debut album, In Memory of Loss, will be released on April 27th, 2010.
As the crowd shuffled into the venue, they were quick to quiet down to listen to Rateliff’s voice. It sounds so similar to other singer-songwriters, but not the songwriters of his time. I feel like he has more of a music connection with the artists of folk or alternative genre in the 70’s and 80’s. His worn, slightly raspy voice While his songs sound simple, his lyrics resonated within Lincoln Hall and the audience’s minds. There was a sense of quiet reflection the music which kept the growing crowd silently stirring. The short set was very well received, with a few latecomers in the audience asking each other who the artist was.
This show really hit close to home for me. His music reminds me of the summer days of my youth, having nothing to do but explore finding hidden caves or seeing how high I could climb. The images that flooded my mind of my childhood were spooky almost as if Rateliff was conjuring up memories of troubled, but simpler times. Nathaniel Rateliff is still a relatively new, up and coming artist- even with The Wheel at his side. Yet, he is a definite reminder that creative, inspiring individuals can seemingly show up out of no where.
Nathaniel Rateliff is currently on tour with The Low Anthem until late Fall of this year. I found a session Rateliff & The Wheel did on Daytrotter which gives you a very similar look into how he sounds live, compared with the tracks on his upcoming album, In Memory of Loss. It took me two days to realize that Rateliff’s voice sounds similar to a worn, folk version of the lead singer of Kings of leon. Really, give it a listen: