Nathaniel Rateliff is a pretty average guy. He’s held a couple blue-collar jobs, says his biggest vices are sex and booze, and says that, in his survivor kit, he would pack little more than a flask and neckerchief. He paints himself as a washed-out singer-songwriter who has little to give. All this is entirely misleading though, since his songs burst with so much tenderness and romance it sends chills down a listener’s spine. His five-piece band is without airs and his new LP, “In Memory of Loss,” rattles with ambling guitar riffs, raw vocals and the kind of lyrics that sound more like a conversation between lovers. He earns his subtle twang from growing up in a small Missouri town, one with a sixty-person population. In the vein of Bon Iver, he’s the type of performer who refuses to consider himself gifted, even when able to look straight into a crowd and unleash pure emotion. For those unfamiliar, think the sentiments of Coldplay and the dark musing of Leonard Cohen with an indie-folk spin. A handlebar mustache and droopy eyes aren’t usually the type of qualities that can pull at your soul, but Nathaniel Rateliff is the exception. At his show at Schubas, listen for songs, “Brakeman,” “Pounds and Pounds” and “Happy Just To Be.”(Dee Fabbricatore)
Nathaniel Rateliff with JBM, Schubas, 3159 N Southport, July 21 at 9pm, $10.