Album Notes - Nathaniel Rateliff - And It's Still Alright
"Ain't it a drag babe?" Nathaniel Rateliff leads off his first post-success solo excursion by posing a question that initially may seem harmless and rhetorical, yet proves prelude to an album of such loss, mourning, and depression that one need not even finish And It's Still Alright for the answer to clearly be a resounding "yes." Hell, midway through the first track that same conclusion can be arrived upon.
After years of gaining no traction as a solo artist and little national attention in various other groups, Rateliff found new life over the last half decade diving headfirst into the "revival soul" sound by fronting the Night Sweats. Two successful albums later, now recently divorced and following the death of friend/Night Sweats' producer Richard Swift, And It's Still Alright sees Rateliff come full circle back to his folk troubadour days, essentially living in his own wake as he strips things down to their most crestfallen elements. These may not be the songs his fans want to hear, yet the inescapable feeling is they are the ones Rateliff needed to write. It's like a gruesome car wreck you can't take your eyes off. Throughout it all Rateliff's emotive, forever heart-on-sleeve voice seems less concerned with enticing listeners than reassuring himself, evident in the album's title. To his soul's torment and our ears' delight, what a heart-wrenching drag indeed.