Nathaniel Rateliff

Musician

Rateliff’s youth in rural Missouri was quiet and rambling. He built skateboard ramps, explored caves, slept outdoors in the heat. At 18, Rateliff came to Denver. He scored a job with a trucking company, working on the dock and the yard. The money was good, but Rateliff kept falling asleep at the wheel. “My limbs were going numb, the color was all weird in ‘em. My thyroid wasn’t working. Weird stuff that shouldn’t be happening when you’re in your 20s, but it was.” It was a period of rest and recovery, but also one of artistic growth and fresh challenges. Rateliff used the break to learn the piano, much as he had other instruments— by teaching himself. The first song he tackled was Leonard Cohen’s melancholy classic, “Hallelujah.”

Meanwhile, Rateliff developed a dedicated following within the Denver music community and beyond. Spin praised his “massive, alluring” voice. Billboard dubbed the unsigned singer-songwriter a ‘must hear.’ This wave of acclaim lead to a live set on the popular indie site Daytrotter and a solo tour opening for the Fray. Rateliff began writing a different sort of song than he was used to: quieter, more introspective and patient. A friend turned him on to the bedroom recording potentials of the time-honored 8-track, and a new working method was born. “I just kind of went back to my roots,” he says. “It was a different sound, but it was still coming from the same place.” This persistent troubadour has struggled and persevered to this point; now, the wider world is ready for Nathaniel Rateliff. “In Memory of Loss,” he says, “is for everyone who’s willing to listen.”

Nathaniel Rateliff Headshot

Nathaniel Rateliff