Our money is riding on The Ride.

KOTO’s inaugural Ride Festival happens the weekend of the Denver finish of the Big Ride, the USA Pro Cycling event, Saturday, August 25 (starting at noon) – Sunday, August 26 (ending at 10 p.m.)

(The Telluride leg –Stage #1– is Monday, August 20.)

The Ride features Big Head Todd & The Monsters (related post and interview), Ben Harper, Los Lobos, Lucinda Williams, JJ Grey & Mofro, The Lumineers, North Mississippi Allstars (related post and interview coming), The Wood Brothers (related post coming), James McMurtry, David Lindley, Matthew Curry & The Fury, Jeffrey Foucault, Jimmy Herring and Nathaniel Rateliff.

Rateliff grew up of modest means, the son of devout Southern churchgoers in the town of Bay, Missouri (population 60).
The family sang together throughout his childhood. At age seven, Rateliff learned the drums. As a teenager, he stumbled across a cassette of Led Zeppelin’s IV abandoned in a local barn. He wore the tape out listening to it on headphones, drumming along with “When the Levee Breaks” and “Misty Mountain Hop.”

Rateliff’s youth in rural Missouri was quiet and rambling. He built skateboard ramps, explored caves, slept outdoors in the heat.

“I loved growing up there,” he says. “It’s beautiful. There’s something really nice about there not being much to do; it really helped me be a creative person.”

After his father passed away when Rateliff was only 13, he picked up the guitar. His mother taught him three chords and a friend showed him a few more. There was no need to bother with lessons: Rateliff started penning his own songs on an acoustic. He would later go electric, gaining an appreciation for the freedom of effect pedals:

“I was really into making feedback for hours at a time.”

Both impulses, acoustic and electric, are present on his debut release for Rounder Records, In Memory of Loss, with its shards of raw guitar rising beneath hushed, insistent melodies. Rateliff toured endlessly in 2010 and 2011 in support of the critically acclaimed album, headlining shows and performing a major festivals throughout the U.S., Canada, UK and Europe.

“Pensive, rousing, Stark, eloquent… Cash echoes,” raved The New York Times.

Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant describes Rateliff’s sounds as “fragmented and poignant.” Plant also placed Rateliff’s haunting track “Early Spring Till” at the top of his iTunes celebrity playlist.

Nathaniel Rateliff has performed with Jools Holland, Mumford & Sons, the Fray, Bon Iver, Laura Marling, Low Anthem, Delta Spirit and Jess Lea Mayfield to name a few of his high profile professional colleagues.

Preview Rateliff, one of the most exciting emerging talents in music today by watching this video.

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