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Nathaniel Rateliff - Review @ The Barfly, Camden

Nathaniel Rateliff

The Barfly, Camden - 20.10.10

Playing underneath the spotlight to an intimate crowd is daunting for any musician. Blinded by the lights and drowned out by the sound of chatter can be off putting for any performer,. Standing at the back of the Barlfy in Camden, renowned for its showcase of ‘the next big thing’ I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer beauty of Nathaniel Rateliff’s performance with his band. Close your eyes and you can imagine Jack Johnson, David Gray and even a slight hint of Jonny Cash just to top it off. I will be honest; I am not a big country or folk fan. I am one of those people who shun away from that section in HMV, moving closer to the Dance and Hip-Hop, but sometimes I am willing to let a new artists take me under their wing, which isa difficult thing to do, but somehow Nathaniel did it.

Perfected sound through his vocal’s made me shudder during his beautiful song ‘Happy Just To Be’, I realised this act is one to relax to while writing, thinking or even just waiting for something to happen. Nathaniels coy and very humble performance supported the lyrics in what i would describe as poetry rather than songs. I couldn’t find a recurring tempo nor a repeated chorus, but every piece sang was poetic. The Harmonica was an instrument that I have always hidden away from, cheesy Texan cowboys playing on the steps of their houses. But it added more than just cheddar to the performance, it was an added delight to the already beautiful and tender sound. ‘Shroud’ and ‘Longing and Losing’ were two songs that had the crowd lost for words, silenced by Nathaniels husky voice.

I was passed Nathaniels album a few months ago, which I was asked to review. I am actually disgusted with myself for not having the time to sit and listen to the poetry in the lyrics. I have no made a vow to sit and listen to the album, in full while laying on crisp white bed sheets and a pen in my hand with a notebook. This is because, Nathaniel makes me feel creative and romantic. His presence is enduring on stage, which makes the performance a hell of a lot more enjoyable.
A great gig and an extraordinary album that speaks words. If you are into your country or folk, definitely one to watch out for, even if you are a virgin to the sounds, believe me you may be swung.

Nathaniels album 'In Memory Of Loss' is available at all good record stores now.

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