Sonic Youth

Today’s Denver music scene is about much more than jam bands and Top 40 ear candy. Meet five Front Range artists that are making noise locally—and beyond.

June 2011

the troubadour

Nathaniel Rateliff/Though he arrived in Denver about a decade ago, Nathaniel Rateliff seems like he’s been here forever. The 32-year-old Missouri native used his bands Born in the Flood and The Wheel to become one of the Mile High City’s workhorse singer-songwriters. His 2010 solo album, In Memory of Loss, a collection of sweet and soulful dirges, is finally getting Rateliff’s name out beyond the Front Range. It debuted in May to widespread acclaim and garnered him extensive “one to watch” coverage from publications in the United States and Europe. He’ll be returning to Denver this month to play two plum opening gigs for Mumford & Sons with his new backing band, Fairchildren (whose drummer is the Centennial’s Patrick Meese, see previous page). Whether he’s performing in front of a few people or the Fillmore’s sellout crowds, Rateliff is always looking for a distinct feeling. “I know I’ll have a great show when I’m walking up to the stage with slight heaviness, slight melancholy, and slight joy that creates this environment to be impassioned and really involved with what I’m doing,” he says. “It encourages everyone onstage to be involved with me, and that emotion between us spreads throughout the audience.” —Luc Hatlestad

Listen if you like: Scraggly crooners harmonizing about happiness and pain.
On the Web: nathanielrateliff.com, myspace.com/nathanielrateliff
Track: “Once In a Great While”