I remember catching Nathaniel Rateliff at the Turf Club before he was the superstar he is today. It was just me, a couple dozen of other people and his stunning voice and sound. I knew then that he was going to be a thing and I’m super excited to see that he will be playing a sold out Surly Festival Field on Friday, August 30th.
”For a long time I always had to go off on my own,” says Nathaniel Rateliff of his creative process. “For the first Night Sweats record, I demo’ed everything up and created most of the parts. But for this new record, I felt like we’d all spent so much time on the road that we should all go off somewhere together. We should have that experience together. I wanted the guys to feel like they were giving something to the project beyond just playing.”
In other words, the Missouri-bred, Denver-based frontman wanted to make the band disappear along with him—out in the middle of the desert at first, and then deep in the woods. The result is the aptly titled Tearing at the Seams, a vivacious and inventive full-band record, with significant contributions from all eight members of The Night Sweats. These songs are grounded in old-school soul and r&b but are far too urgent for the retro or revivalist tag. There are familiar elements of soul and garage rock, but also jazz and folk and even country: the crackling energy on opener “Shoe Boot,” the cathartic sing-along of “Coolin’ Out,” the melancholy folk of the closing title track. “The future of this band is to take everything we’ve ever done in the past and just do it with our own little twist,” says Rateliff. “I hear that in my favorite bands. They just sucked everything up.”
Like his heroes, Rateliff has always been an omnivorous listener and player. Growing up in Hermann, Missouri, a small town with a booming tourism industry as well as a rampant meth epidemic, he started his music career playing in his family’s band at church, but that came to a tragic end when his father was killed in a car accident. Music became an obsession for him and his friends. “We would walk around these deserted country roads and talk about music all the time, how it can change the world and how it could change our world,” recalls Night Sweats bassist Joseph Pope III. “Music was what we thought would save us.”
Hiss Golden Messenger will be opening up the show. Hiss Golden Messenger of Durham, North Carolina, a vehicle for singer-songwriter M.C. Taylor, calls up a wide spectrum of American vernacular music — from Archie Brownlee to the Staple Singers, and from singer-songwriters Van Morrison to Townes Van Zandt. After relocating from California to North Carolina, Taylor began to record material under the name Hiss Golden Messenger. Though his initial recordings featured only his voice and guitar recorded to a cheap cassette recorder, recent Hiss albums have incorporated horns, strings and choirs.
As mentioned, this show is completely sold out but keep an eye on First Avenue’s social media for last minute ticket giveaways and releases!!!