Stunning. This wonderfully atmospheric live performance of ‘Mavis’ builds towards a tremendous climax, with Nathaniel Rateliff unleashing real emotion in his wailing voice, rising over the dramatic backing vocals. This song was one of the highlights from his 2020 album ‘And It’s Still Alright’. Listening to it now, in these socially distant times, ‘Mavis’ seems slightly prophetic and there’s certainly greater meaning and feeling in lines like, “In other worlds, in other worlds I would be with you // And other nights, and other nights I think I’ve seen you.” It was recorded during Rateliff’s shows in September 2020 in Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Due to the restrictions in place at the time, there were only 175 audience members each night in the 9400-capacity venue. For all those who missed out on these gigs, you’re in luck because the single is taken from the upcoming live album, ‘Red Rocks 2020’, which is due out on 16th July.
Rateliff explains how the new record came about: “We started out 2020 very excited. The solo record was out and myself and the most of the guys in the Night Sweats were gonna hit the road to present the songs to the world. We were looking forward to performing the songs together with a string quartet and how it was going to make us a better band. We had some of our favourite song writers and friends hitting the road with us. With a grand finale at Red Rocks with Kevin Morby and Damien Jurado. Then the world came to stand still. The songs on ‘And It’s Still Alright’ were about finding hope in times of struggles, and now it seemed the whole world was struggling. So a few months into the Pandemic we started to wonder if there was a way to bring the show we worked so hard on to everyone. If you can’t find a light you have to create one.
Somehow, we were able to play 6 nights at Red Rocks with the full 10-piece band and the production we had created for the show. Kevin Morby and Katie Crutchfield drove out from Missouri to join us. Five of the night had 175 people and one night we filmed to an empty amphitheatre that normally holds 10,000 people. It was beautiful to be there, even if it was 175 people. But the night we recorded this record it was heart-breaking. It was a realisation that our world had changed and maybe forever. Needless to say it was a hard night to make it through. But we did it and now we are bringing it to you.”
On the strength of this outstanding performance, this 18-track release looks set to be one of the outstanding albums of the summer. Enjoy.