Growing up in rural Missouri, Nathaniel Rateliff was greatly influenced by his church through his teens. Learning guitar at 13, Rateliff listened exclusively to Christian music until he discovered a copy of John Lennon’s Imagine tucked into his fathers record collection. The title track led Rateliff to question his religious beliefs and moved his music in a secular direction.
Ratliff dropped out of school at 16 and began work in a plastics factory before moving to Denver on an evangelical mission. He also continued songwriting and performing and while in Denver, began to question his spiritual beliefs more intently, eventually leaving his evangelical group to work odd jobs and perform. Over the course of a decade Rateliff got married, built decks and worked in a trucking company. By 2010 his music evolved into quiet, introspective tunes and he released his first album.
After two records, Nathaniel Rateliff found that he was writing songs that required a band so he formed the Night Sweats. Heavily influenced by early Van Morrison records and the Band, the new group built a reputation for their powerful live shows and in 2015 worked to capture that sound on a record.
Rateliff had considered the debut Night Sweats record to be his last chance at a career in music . Fortunately, the lead single SOB was a viral hit. An EP and a second album followed which debuted in the top 20. Despite the success of his group, Rateliff has not been content to drop his quieter solo work, releasing another solo record in 2019. It was his first in 7 years and was followed by a solo tour.