Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats Celebrate The Future

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats will perform at 713 Music Hall on Tuesday, April 26.
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats will perform at 713 Music Hall on Tuesday, April 26. Photo by Danny Clinch
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats are celebrating the future now. “We are trying to but it looks a little bleak sometimes,” says Rateliff with a dry laugh.

The dynamic band will be kicking off their busy touring summer here in Texas and making a stop in Houston for a performance at 713 Music Hall on Tuesday, April 26 in support of their latest release The Future.

The Future was released in November of last year on Stax Records and is the third studio for The Night Sweats. The album shows off the deep and soulful energy of the band and their magnetic uplifting energy that draws fans to their work with impossible to resist tracks like "Survivor."

There are few artists who can rattle the building with their voice one minute and then silence the crowd with a hush the next. Rateliff is one of these rare performers and his intense sonic range can be felt in his solo work and his projects with The Night Sweats.

Prior to COVID, Rateliff took a chance as frontman to release his beautiful solo project, And It’s Still Alright, written following an incredibly challenging time when Rateliff not only lost his good friend and creative collaborator Richard Swift but also saw his marriage break up.

“That record was really important to me and I was bummed that we got shut down by the pandemic in touring it but we will be back out there at some point doing more material like that,” assures Rateliff.

“It was pretty difficult for me at first because I had put so much energy and I felt like part of the process of making a record, especially like the record And It's Still Alright, where we had lost Richard Swift and I had gone through a divorce, there was certainly moments where I was feeling like I was having a nervous breakdown trying to realize the world that I live in and that I’m a part of as a musician.”

Rateliff, like so many artists at the beginning of the pandemic, found himself questioning his entire future livelihood and that of his band and fans, a responsibility which weighed heavy on his soul and left him searching for answers to questions not often found.

“That’s a lot to try to figure out and nobody is really writing books on that and they don’t have a lot of therapists specialize in that so it kinda goes, you end up talking to a lot of other musicians and people that are in the same situation and Richard was one of those people,” says Rateliff of his late friend.

“We had a lot of similar struggles and he lost his battle to the struggle unfortunately. I feel like playing and performing that record is a part of the grieving process for me so it felt pretty cut short when we only got to play the ten shows and I went home pretty discouraged and didn't even try to write for a while,” he describes.

“I felt lucky that I was safe and had a place to be. I know a lot of people had it a lot worse than me, but it was still discouraging,” he adds.

Rateliff found encouragement in spending time with his friends and collaborators Patrick Meese of The Night Sweats, James Barone of Beach House and Elijah Thompson who works with Father John Misty.

“All of us were really close to Richard and usually around the time of his passing we will get together and just kinda hang out and tell stories about Swift. We just started jamming while we were hanging out and songs like “Love Don't” and “So Put Out” and a few other tunes came out of us messing around in the studio,” explains Rateliff.

The group got together a few more times before linking up with Bradley Cook who produced the album making the final product a soulful, infectious celebration of what may be to come and an overarching message of love and perseverance with Dylanesque lyrics delivered with the depth and grit that only Rateliff and his band can create.

“For now we just moved into the world of The Night Sweats and this new record that came out in November so that's where our headspace is right now. I go back and forth because I love so much what I'm doing with The Night Sweats but I felt there's certainly room for both. I know I'm going to make another solo record at some point but I’ll probably do another Night Sweats one first.”

“For now we just moved into the world of The Night Sweats and this new record that came out in November so that's where our headspace is right now."

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Rateliff can often be found lending his voice to raise awareness and support for causes he believes in. Through his involvement with Farm Aid he not only nurtured a friendship with Willie Nelson and the whole family, but also found inspiration to found his own organization, The Marigold Project which he began in 2017.

“We are focused on racial, social and economic justice so we have a pretty wide net that we cast as far as what we are trying to work on,” explains Rateliff who not only lends a hand in his home state of Colorado but is often involved in supporting Texans as well an effect of his deep friendship with the Nelsons, personal ties to the state and geography.

“It's an important state,” he explains. “I live in Colorado and Texas is certainly its own thing but as the West goes, sometimes I feel we have some similar issues that are really going to affect us in the future like water conservation and so I feel like trying to work together is important,” he says adding “If you think about it, Texas and Colorado were all the same thing at one point.”

Nathaniel & The Night Sweats will perform on Tuesday, April 26 at 713 Music Hall, 401 Franklin, 8 p.m. $25-$70.
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Gladys Fuentes is a first generation Houstonian whose obsession with music began with being glued to KLDE oldies on the radio as a young girl. She is a freelance music writer for the Houston Press, contributing articles since early 2017.
Contact: Gladys Fuentes