Rateliff returns, but just for a day
Rateliff is touring on the heels of the "official" release of his disc, "Falling Faster Than You Can Run," which is the second to carry only his name. A 2007 disc was released under the name Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel.
He returns to Milwaukee this week for the first time since his 2012 Summerfest appearance.
The new disc – which was "secretly" released last September – continues Rateliff's run of hard-hitting, dynamic songs rooted in folk, like the ones on its predecessor, "In Memory of Loss."
This time, however, the songs are packaged in a bright sleeve that conjures perhaps a more bubbly pop record than Rateliff's typically stark, often dark arrangements.
We had the chance to ask the singer/songwriter – who also fronts a soul band called The Night Sweats – a few questions via email in advance of his performance here...
OnMilwaukee.com: Was it that typical "difficult second album"?
Nathaniel Rateliff: I had recorded earlier records with other projects and as a solo artist. So I wasn't too worried about recording it as a second record.
OMC: Or did being on the road so much help you focus on writing it?
NR: Being on the road so much made it hard to really finish the songs.
OMC: Was there a little more pressure this time 'round, in the sense that you were in a position of having to follow up a great record?
NR: I didn't have much pressure from a record label, mostly I just wanted to try make another record that I liked. I work pretty well under pressure.
OMC: I'm curious to hear a bit about the decision to release the record "secretly" last autumn and to "officially" release it now. Were you testing the waters a bit or were you so proud of it you couldn't wait to get it out there?
NR: I had finished the record in March of 2013. We had a tour coming in September and we knew we needed to have a new record out. So we just put it out.
OMC: I'm not sure why, but the cover doesn't look how I expected it to look.
NR: That's funny, some people have asked me if the cover is two men. I always say that I'm not cool enough for that. But what I was trying to do with the cover is create an image that had tension and longing.
OMC: While certainly your music has qualities of folk music, I never think of it in those terms. Are we moving toward a post-pigeonholing world in terms of music?
NR: When people ask me what type of music I play, I say folk, Americana or singer songwriter. I don't think of myself in those terms, but it's easier for people to get it if I just say that. As far as post-pigeonholing goes, we as a culture will move past pigeonholing.
OMC: You've been to Milwaukee a few times now, do you like it here?
NR: I love Milwaukee. I wanted to move there till I went in the early spring. I always enjoy visiting the friends I have there and we have had some amazing evenings.
OMC: Anything you're hoping to do or see here if you get a few free minutes?
NR: It's usually hard to get out and see anything. Hopefully try and get some great food while we are there.
OMC: Finally, what can we expect at the show?
NR: We will be doing a full band tour: Joseph B Pope III (guitar), Jenna Conrad (strings), Patrick Meese (drums), Mark Shusterman (keyboards) and, of course, myself. Expect it to be good.
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