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Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats: 10 Essential Tracks

Written by Claire Louise Sheridan on March 21, 2019

Biker blues in Byron Bay? Sign us UP! Among the 200-strong lineup at this year’s Bluesfest are some incredible artists, including the USA’s very own Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats.

Just a few short years ago, Rateliff was ready to throw in the towel after paying his dues on the solo circuit for around a decade. A last-ditch attempt to reinvent his sound with The Night Sweats asserted them rightfully on the scene, and here we are. This is the new Americana; complete with layer upon layer of percussion, brass, strings and sax, all meshed together to create an alluring and soulful sound that only a ensemble of this nature can produce.

We’ve put together an essential list of 10 Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats tracks to listen to before you find yourself in that field up in Northern NSW.

1. S.O.B., Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats (2015)

No prizes for guessing what these letters stand for, but the only drama lurking beneath the upbeat bounce of this Blues Brothers-esque number is a battle within. One of their biggest tracks to date, S.O.B. sure is a hit on the dance floor, but upon closer inspection it’s hard to ignore its raw, introspective nature which speaks plainly of alcoholism.

2. I Need Never Get Old, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats (2015)

This one channels old-timer Otis Redding vibes from start to finish so yep, it’s a pretty wild ride. There’s something about these guys that allows them to speak their personal truth every step of the way while still getting you groovin’, no matter what age you are. Hey, you’re only as old as you feel!

3. You Worry Me, Tearing At The Seams (2018)

You could argue that Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats were in the right place at the right time when they dominated the charts with this track, but we think it had been a long time coming. With an abundance of true grit and determination (both in the sound, and the men themselves), it’s no wonder that the band are contenders for the crown when it comes to the best in Americana/mainstream crossovers.

4. Wasting Time, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats (2015)

Ready to go on a journey? This brooding, self-reflective ditty will transport you directly deep into the depths of its writer’s soul. While vocally, he sounds defeated, there’s something powerful for us to take away as listeners—there’s always time to make a change.

5. Hey Mama, Tearing At The Scenes (2018)

There’s nothing sweeter than a dude who isn’t afraid to show some love for his mum. ‘Hey Mama’ pays homage to her and then some (something you’ll see for real if you check out the video clip).

Lyrically, it’s intimate as hell, laying bare a tribute to a woman who’s clearly had a hand in shaping everything Nathaniel’s become… and who, growing up, was clearly no stranger to putting him in his place.

6. A Little Honey, Tearing At The Scenes (2018)

Crack open a bottle of wine, ‘cause here’s a perfect song for slow dancing in your living room if ever we did hear one. ‘A Little Honey’ is a real feel-good hit, both sultry and sexy in equal measure. Just be careful who you have around while you’re listening—it sure is smooth, but those feels will hit you like a freight train. Side effects may include falling in love.

7. Tearing at the Seams, Tearing At The Scenes (2018)

The title track of their latest record really highlights why Nathaniel Rateliff ever got a nickname like the “Colorado growler” in the first place. Sure, ‘Tearing at the Seams’ starts off slow and steady, but it’s building to a toe-tapping crescendo.

8. Coolin’ Out, Tearing At The Scenes (2018)

You might say this one was a long time coming. The writing predates Nathaniel’s collaboration with the Night Sweats, but the finished product with the full ensemble behind him was worth the wait. There’s straight up ‘60s vibes on ‘Coolin’ Out’, possibly even more so than with the rest of their repertoire—often an inherent ode in itself to the decade.

9. Be There, Tearing At The Scenes (2018)

By now, it’s fairly evident that Rateliff is no stranger to wearing his heart on his sleeve, and there’s a vulnerability to ‘Be There’ which emanates throughout. But make no mistake. This slow jam sure ain’t desperate, and exudes a melancholic maturity that by this point, you know is legit.

10. Babe I Know, Tearing At The Scenes (2018)

Call it oxymoronic, but Rateliff’s gruff voice still manages to melt like butter in ‘Babe I Know’. This is yet another brilliant example of the authenticity they command with every note and indeed every insight into the life of a true raconteur. You almost vicariously feel regret for him, and yet it’s still a pleasure to listen to.


Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats will play Byron Bay Bluesfest this April. The band have also announced six (six!) sideshows across Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Auckland. Dates and details below.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats Bluesfest 2019 Sideshows

Presented by Music Feeds

Tickets on sale now

Wednesday, 10th April
Powerstation, Auckland
Tickets: Bluesfest Touring

Saturday, 13th April
Metro Theatre, Sydney
Tickets: Bluesfest Touring

Sunday, 14th April – NEW SHOW
Metro Theatre, Sydney
Tickets: Ticketek

Monday, 15th April
The Gov, Adelaide
Tickets: Bluesfest Touring

Wednesday, 17th April
The Croxton, Melbourne
Tickets: Oztix

Thursday, 18th April — SOLD OUT
The Croxton, Melbourne
Tickets: Oztix

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