Finally! On the last Tuesday in April, the rest of the country will finally get a chance to hear the extraordinary songs and expressive vocals of Nathaniel Rateliff, when the celebrated local songwriter's Rounder Records debut, In Memory of Loss, hits stores on Tuesday, April 27.
Rateliff and his bandmates -- Ben DeSoto, Julie Davis, Carrie Beeder, James Han and Joseph Pope III -- recorded Loss with Brian Deck (Iron Wine, Josh Ritter) at Engine, his Chicago-based studio, this past November and December. Rateliff, who lived in an apartment attached to the studio for the duration of the sessions, opted to record in Chicago at the behest of Bart Dahl, his manager, after the pair met with Deck and visited his studio this past summer.
"We liked the idea of recording in Denver," Dahl says, explaining why Rateliff didn't record the record in the Mile High City, "but I feared it dragging on. This time around, it made more sense to set a deadline.
"I just put Nate in a studio," he goes on, "and said, 'Here you go. You have this great producer, a couple engineers, one month, all these mics or whatever ... There's your cot, if you want to sleep, and if you want to eat someone will go get you a sandwich. Be a musician. Make a record. This is what you do best ... Oh, and it needs to be recorded, mixed mastered and delivered by Christmas.'"
According to Dahl, Rateliff and company recorded nearly enough songs for a double-album, tunes that may surface at some point, he says. For the time being, however, the songs on this album represent the origin of this project, essentially just him and his guitar.
And so now, armed with a brand new album, a label and booking agent that are enthusiastic, Rateliff seems poised to finally realize the success that's always been projected. If he fails to reach a wider audience, it certainly won't be for a lack of resources or effort, something Dahl is keenly aware of. "There's no magic wand," he stresses. "He HAD to make a great record, which he did, and now he has to show it to the world, which we do primarily on the road, so here we go I guess."
To that end, Rateliff has a full slate at this year's South By Southwest Festival, and an upcoming tour with the Low Anthem will follow sometime thereafter.
MP3: "Shroud" - Nathaniel Rateliff & the Wheel (Daytrotter session)
MP3: "Early Spring" - Nathaniel Rateliff & the Wheel (Daytrotter session)
MP3: "Early Spring Till" - Nathaniel Rateliff, from forthcoming album, In Memory of Loss (link directs to Fan Exclusive sign up at ReverbNation.com)