Nathaniel Rateliff in Billboard Later This Week

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Fancy us: We caught a few songs from one of the best unsigned singer-songwriters in the country (that's a designation bestowed by Billboard, in an issue that hits stands later this week, BTW -- not that we disagree) at the Meadowlark this past Friday night. Sucking down a few cold ones on the Lark's back patio before heading over to the Larimer for Margot and the Nuclear So and So's, we heard Rateliff's stellar voice pouring out of the speakers.

Having completely forgotten that Rateliff's other outfit, the Wheel, was sharing the night's bill with Gregory Alan Isakov and Paleo -- two excellent songsmiths in their own right -- I was a bit stunned to hear him at first, but nonetheless headed inside to catch the Born in the Flood frontman, clad in a derby hat and jean jacket, in the midst of an understated set, gently chording a classical guitar and crooning in voice befitting the quaint, subterranean space.

On a related note, later this week, Rateliff and bassist Joseph Pope will be heading to the East Coast for a pair of acoustic dates, playing Wheel songs. From there, the duo will fly out to the West Coast for two more gigs, stopping in Nebraska to perform alongside DeVotchKa on the way out. The Billboard blurb comes at an especially great time for the band, as Flood appears to be picking up some serious momentum. "I'll Lead Them Out," from 2007's If This Thing Should Spill, the act's last disc, will be featured in The Elephant King, a European indie film that will reportedly garner stateside distribution later this year. Rateliff and company, who are also the subjects of a new pilot profiling emerging artists hosted by Matt Pinfield, are demoing songs for the new record. Complete acoustic duo dates below.

-- Dave Herrera

May 21 - Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ w/ the English Beat May 22 – 7pm - Mercury Lounge, New York, NY May 24 - The Slowdown, Omaha, NE w/ DeVotchKa May 27 - Hotel Utah, San Francisco, CA May 28 - Harlow's, Sacramento, CA w/ Fiery Furnaces

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