May 4, 2010: As good a day as any to say that Nathaniel Rateliff has made it. His sparse and powerful In Memory of Loss has been available digitally for a week, but today it appeared in physical form in record stores across the country. Rateliff grew up in Missouri, but as a musician he grew up here in Denver, and he'll play an acoustic in-store at Twist & Shout tonight at 6 p.m.
In Memory of Loss marks Rateliff's debut on Rounder Records. The release is the culmination of a year in which he found a national audience, earning the attention of everyone from Daytrotter to Paste Magazine to Vanity Fair. We named him Best Singer/Songwriter of 2010.
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After years working without a producer for his releases with Born in the Flood and the Wheel, Rounder set him up with Brian Deck, who has previously produced Iron & Wine, Califone and Modest Mouse. Deck has given Rateliff's voice the stripped-down spotlight it deserves, and on In Memory of Loss, he ranges from weary to thunderous. Rateliff wrote the songs alone, and as he notes in the Rounder-produced introductory video above, they still sound homespun and intimate; this is music that sidles into your brain and stays there.
Next week, he'll kick off a tour in support of the album with the Tallest Man On Earth. After a stop in Salt Lake City, he'll be back in Colorado, with dates at the Fox in Boulder on May 18 and headlining the Bluebird the day after. And while his music is now property of the world, he isn't about to cut ties with Denver. That acoustic set tonight at Twist & Shout is an indication of how appreciative he is of this city. Get there early.
In the meantime, check out this clip of this recent performance from Daytrotters Barnstormer Tour, which just wrapped. Here Rateliff's joined onstage by some of his tourmates in the Delta Spirit and Pearly Gate Music.