The first things you notice are the voice and the space. That voice belongs to Nathaniel Rateliff, a man whos earned the twang and hard-knock weariness that shines through on his 2010 Rounder debut. The space comes courtesy of producer Brian Deck (Califone, Iron & Wine, Modest Mouse), who helped transform 8-track bedroom demos into miniature epics of contrast, beauty, and yearning.
In Memory of Loss is a stunning, heartbreaking sonic document from a singer-songwriter whos made his way from a childhood in Bay, Missouri (pop. 60) to the national stage. Rateliffs debut album is rooted in a bygone era. Its both fresh and classic, imbued with a melancholy nostalgia, the rough candor of rock 'n' rolls past and the warmth and earnestness of folk storytellers. No wonder Time Out New York says Rateliff conjures "the ghosts of Nick Drake and Gram Parsons."
These tracks, with their soulful minimalism, hint of the music he grew up on Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, The Beatles yet Rateliff is also at home in what may be called, for lack of a better term, the neo-folk revival. His voice is so confident that you can occasionally imagine the music dropping out entirely, a song propelled solely by Rateliffs a capella strengths equal parts church spiritual and TV On The Radio riffing on The Pixies.
Nathaniel says of the album: My goal is to make people have honest emotions and a real experience by listening to music in the same way that I feel, the same way that most people feel when they listen to music, that it touches them in some way."
This persistent troubadour has struggled and persevered to this point. Now, the wider world is ready for Nathaniel Rateliff.
First time on vinyl
Includes 3 bonus tracks
1. Once In A Great While
2. Early Spring Till
3. We Never Win
5. Longing And Losing
1. Oil & Lavender
3. You Shouldve Seen The Other Guy
4. Whimper And Wail
1. Boil & Fight
2. When We Could
3. A Lamb On The Stone
4. When Youre Here
5. Happy Just To Be
1. Laughing (bonus track)
2. You Make All The Noise (bonus track)
3. Pounds And Pounds (bonus track)