photo by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon
After years of financial troubles, legal limbo and ownership changes, the legendary Memphis based Stax Records has been revived with a soul-powered defibrillator named Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats. Originally establishing himself as an folky Americana singer/songwriter, Rateliff has moved from those solemn glassy waters to the hard-swinging, hard-rockin’ waves of Memphis soul. Known for its rawer sound, especially compared to their rival, the Detroit juggernaut, Motown, the Night Sweats recapture that iconic Stax passion without simply following in its wake.
There’s a lot to live up to when your predecessors are unquestionably the greatest soul musicians to ever bless the world with their existence. Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett, the Staple Singers, the house band Booker T. and the M.G.’s, and so many more forever transformed all popular music that followed them, and you can certainly hear some of them in Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats. But they’ve chosen not to walk upon the footprints of their forefather’s, but rather beside them–creating their own unique impression upon the hallowed grounds of soul.
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats played in front of a small group of concert club members this afternoon. You can listen to their set below.