Like the Lumineers and legalized weed, Colorado’s been producing a lot of things lately that grab international attention – now including Denver resident Nathaniel Rateliff. The singer-songwriter gained a steady following while opening for the clap-n-shout threesome, grabbing audiences with his introspective folk that sets a soaring voice (jetting from Glen Hansard highs to gritty Leonard Cohen lows) to clean melodies and sparse, ethereal percussion. Born in a tiny Missouri town to extremely religious parents, Rateliff found his own devotional in Led Zeppelin, the Beatles and Cohen, eventually fleeing the Midwest for the mountains and becoming an integral part of the Denver scene (and an early influence on the Lumineers themselves).
Rateliff’s newest LP, Falling Faster Than You Can Run, will officially be released stateside April 1, leading with the single for the mournful tune “Still Trying.” The video is his world seen through a Technicolor-tinged car window, an atmospheric presentation of a song that is anything but; and where the moments of silence are as powerful as the plaintive lyrics. It’s a version of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” where it’s possible to break your own heart.
“’Still Trying’ is about when you lay down at night and you tell yourself that tomorrow you’re going to be different,” Rateliff tells American Songwriter. “That you’ll stop doing all the things that are a hindrance or a distraction, that you’ll learn to love and take care of yourself. But then you wake up you do all the same shit that makes you hate yourself.”
Rateliff, who produced the album with Jamie Mefford, will announce US tour dates soon.