Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats return to Ball Arena for their 19th Annual Holiday Show! This year’s event will support Harm Reduction Action Center and EarthLinks, two Denver organizations Nathaniel Rateliff & his Marigold Project are passionate about. The 2022 Holiday Show raised $100,000 for various grantees.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats:
It took Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats less than five years to become one of the most recognizable new forces in contemporary rock ’n’ roll. Since 2015, Rateliff has led his denim-clad, horn-flanked Night Sweats, supplying the zeal of a whiskey-chugging Pentecostal preacher to songs about this world’s shared woes. They’ve had hits, sure, but their combustible mix of soul and rock quickly cemented them as the rare generational band who balanced ecstatic live shows with engrossing and rich records. To wit, is there any other modern act capable of revving up stadium crowds for The Rolling Stones while also appearing on Saturday Night Live and CMT Crossroads and at NPR’s Tiny Desk in short order?
When Rateliff returned from his pandemic-truncated solo tour in March 2020, he struggled with the same question that vexed so many of us then—what now? Fortunately, he returned to his Colorado homestead and penned a set of songs that synthesized his introspection with his anthemic inclinations. The result is The Future, the third Night Sweats album but the first to capture this octet’s true depth and breadth. An instant classic of 11 songs, the album presents something more sustainable, interesting, and indeed open—a songwriter and band growing into bigger questions and sounds, into a future that allows them to remain recognizable but be so much more compelling than some denim-clad caricature.
Mt. Joy’s songs unfold like good political speeches: They amble and converse and pulsate fervently until it’s time to get the crowd chanting along.” – NPR
Across various cultures and belief systems, the color orange symbolizes sunshine, creativity, heat, freedom, fascination, and fire. Mt. Joy channels this bright, bold, and brilliant energy on their 2022 third full-length offering, Orange Blood, which is set to release on June 17th via Island Records. The title track, which was released today across platforms, hinges on gently strummed guitar as woozy vocals echo over sparse swells of sound before the central hummable harmony drifts in and out of focus. Watch the accompanying video here.
Orange Blood explores a sonic spectrum of eloquent daydreams, blissful guitar-propelled psychedelic rock, and artful alternative alchemy siphoned from sessions in the Southern California desert under a watchful sun. When the global pandemic upended the bands tour with The Lumineers in 2020, Matt and Sam retreated into the desert. Holing up in a house with Matt’s girlfriend and brother, shroom-fueled detours, late-night conversations about life, and a thirst for reprieve brought Orange Blood to life. “I was definitely drawn to the color orange,” explains lead singer Matt Quinn. “When we were in the desert, everything revolved around the sun. I started playing with the idea that the light we see is this sort of orange blood that runs through all of us and gives life to everything it touches.”
“Our last album was a breakup record,” notes Matt. “It had a darker feel. When we were in Joshua Tree, there were so many sad things in the world. We wanted to build something that found beauty in the fact the world has always been crazy. We were trying to find a way to be present enough to appreciate our surroundings even if they’re in decay.” Returning to Philadelphia, they put the finishing touches on the album in a house with the full lineup and longtime producer and collaborator Caleb Nelson.
The Philadelphia quintet—Matt Quinn [vocals, guitar], Sam Cooper [guitar], Sotiris Eliopoulos [drums], Jackie
Miclau [keys, piano], and Michael Byrnes [bass]— take their name from the quiet rural town in southwest Pennsylvania, about four hours from their Philadelphia base. Forming in 2016, they made their mark two years later when their self-titled Mt. Joy debut album spun off “Silver Lining,” an uplifting power ballad that went to #1 at AAA radio (Billboard Adult Alternative Airplay) and has eclipsed over 120 million Spotify streams to date. Their second album, Rearrange Us (2018) drew widespread critical raves. Over the past four years Mt. Joy has amassed over half a billion streams and have earned acclaim from NPR, Billboard, Rolling Stone, The Line of Best Fit, and more. The band has performed at a variety of festivals such as Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo and has toured with The Lumineers, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, The Revivalists, and The Head and The Heart. Additionally, the band has performed on Stephen Colbert, CBS Morning, Samantha Bee, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, and Conan.
Hailed by Pitchfork as one of the “most exciting and skillful storytellers” working today, Jaime Wyatt is the kind of generational talent whose raw, honest lyricism is matched only by the power of her huge, unmistakable voice. Wyatt first began turning heads with her breakout 2017 debut, Felony Blues, which chronicled her now much-publicized battle with addiction and transformative journey through the criminal justice system. Wyatt’s 2020 follow-up, Neon Cross, tackled even more profoundly personal revelations. Both records arrived to universal acclaim, with NPR praising Wyatt’s “remarkable voice” and Rolling Stone lauding her “lush, layered, and complex” performances.
Her upcoming album, Feel Good Recorded with Black Pumas’ Adrian Quesada, takes Wyatt to new heights. Feel Good is bold and ecstatic, built on tight, intoxicating grooves that belie the songs’ substantial emotional stakes. Wyatt’s writing is unguarded and intuitive here, tapping into the deep recesses of her subconscious as she reckons with grief and growth, and her delivery is visceral to match, cutting straight to the bone with equal parts sensitivity and swagger. Taken as a whole, the collection stands as a radical act of creative liberation from an artist already known for pushing limits, a genre-defying work of healing and self-love that tips its cap to everything from Al Green and Otis Redding to Waylon Jennings and Bobbie Gentry in its relentless pursuit of peace and pleasure.
“I wanted to make music you could move to,” Wyatt explains, “but I still wanted it to have heart and integrity.”
Eschewing the traditionally solitary process that begot her early work, Wyatt penned Feel Good in a series of collaborative, freewheeling writing sessions built around infectious drum and bass grooves. Working with different rhythm sections in LA (her former hometown) and Nashville (her current hometown), Wyatt began experimenting with stream-of-consciousness and improvisation on the songs, allowing herself to trust her instincts (as well as those of close collaborator Joshy Soul) as she pulled lyrics and melodies from the ether.
“I really tried to listen to my gut and be in the moment with these songs,” Wyatt explains. “I figured out how to stop overthinking and second-guessing myself, everything started opening up in a really exciting way.”
Wyatt carried that same energy into Electric Deluxe Recorders in Austin, where she and the band cut much of the basic tracks and vocals live to tape before fleshing them out with lush horns, strings, and harmonies.
That natural chemistry is plain to hear on Feel Good, which opens with the driving “World Worth Keeping.” Written in a fit of inspiration Wyatt herself didn’t even understand at the time, the track is a fierce, soulful meditation on the kind of beauty that’s worth fighting for, no matter how hopeless things may seem. “Take a look around you / There’s a world worth keeping,” Wyatt proclaims over a shimmering organ and tremolo guitar. Like much of the album, the track is rooted in a defiant optimism, in a refusal to surrender to cynicism and negativity despite its ever-looming presence. The radiant “Back To The Country” finds Heaven in the simplest places, while the buoyant “Love Is A Place” revels in the freedom of being seen for who you truly are, and the effervescent title track embraces pleasure as a primal necessity. “All I want to do / Just to feel good, is just to feel right,” Wyatt sings, backed by towering gospel vocals.
“I spent a lot of my life feeling like it was selfish to want to feel good, that women were supposed to be meek and quiet and submissive,” she reflects. “I wasn’t born like that, though, and these songs were a big part of learning not just to accept myself, but to love myself, because if you can’t love yourself, then nobody can.”
It’s a lesson Wyatt’s learned the hard way over the years, and the specters of loneliness, loss, and heartbreak haunt the album throughout. The bittersweet “Hold Me One More Time” struggles with an inevitable parting of ways as it builds into a frenzied, cathartic roar; the sensual “Jukebox Holiday” longs for a love that seems to hang perpetually just out of reach; and the stripped-down “Moonlighter” drifts through the world in the dark of night, always on the outside looking in. Even when she’s tackling loss on a more existential scale—the ghostly “Where The Damned,” for instance, draws on the stories of missing indigenous women in a solemn remembrance of the forgotten, while the rousing “Fugitive” examines the aftermath of gun violence—Wyatt still manages to find something to believe in.
“A lot of us grow up feeling like we have to hide who we are just to be accepted,” Wyatt reflects, “but that comes from a place of fear and judgment. Sometimes we need a little extra help to let go of all the guilt and shame and pain we carry. Sometimes we need a reminder to be kind to ourselves and each other.”