Talk about a leopard changing his spots. On his current release, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Denver based singer-songwriter Rateliff has taken a sharp left turn into Sam & Dave territory. After releasing a couple of albums worth of intense, folk leaning music, he’s embraced his inner Otis Redding. The disc is filled with songs that should appeal to fans of Redding, James Brown, Sam Cooke & Van Morrison. From the terrific R&B flavor of “Look It Here,” & “Howling At Nothing, “to the soulful ballads “I’d Be Waiting” & “Wasting Time,” this is a groove-tastic record. There are also some touches of gospel & rock & roll on tracks like “I Need Never Get Old” and “S.O.B.” which is perhaps the catchiest ode to post-breakup drinking (and the DTs) ever written. It's no mistake that the record has been released on the now legendary Stax label, the well-known home of gritty soul music. It's the perfect place for this album.
Rateliff’s powerful vocals are by turns gruff & tender, depending on the needs of the song. The band is uniformly excellent, featuring trumpet player Lesley Watkins and guitarist Luke Mossman, among others. It’s as if Booker T & The MGs and The Band formed an alliance, and combined their sounds to bring forth a melting pot of Americana, rock, funk, blues & soul. This is an album you’ll want to spin at parties, driving in the car, or while hanging out on a rainy Sunday. The disc was produced by Richard Swift, and is available for download on iTunes & other streaming music services. Here are links to performances of “Howling At Nothing” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzqmVa6n-es, “I Need Never Get Old,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2hxU4UG3dA, and of course, "S.O.B." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iAYhQsQhSY. This is one my favorite releases of 2015. Check out Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats now; highly recommended. And be sure to go out and see the band live if they're in your area; the group is currently on tour.