Session Date: 7/2/2019
Session Location: Raisin’ Roots Farm - Fort Collins, CO
Meet Nathaniel Riley. For this session, Nathaniel was accompanied by Austin on guitar, and Taylor on drums. Originally from the Black Hills in South Dakota, Nathaniel came to Colorado for the mountains and to be closer to family. He began playing guitar around the age of 12, and was the first in his immediate family to decide to pick up an instrument.
“What got me into playing was my deep love for music that developed at a really young age. I used to sit in my floor as a 6 year old with my radio and just listen all day to as much music s I could. I wanted more of a connection to the music. Years later that is what motivated me to pick up the guitar because I realized it was something that wasn’t so far out of reach. To be able to connect to music more than just listening was very impactful, which led into writing music of my own. What pushed me towards writing my own music was recognizing how I was able to turn events in my life into something artistic with a very personal perspective, whether it be my own or others. To tell the story and try to represent it as something that was authentic from myself, melodic and hopefully beautiful. Songwriting has been a therapeutic way for me to deal with the movements of life or hardship, which results in a melancholic sound or feeling from lyrics.”
“Performing was something that started out very unnaturally for me. Even as a child, I have always felt introverted. Though, there was something that felt very rewarding when I would present the music to others. It became something that wasn’t just about myself anymore. Others connect to it and relate in their own way, which almost felt freeing from whatever the music or song was originally inspired by. It also just scared the hell out of me and I always try to lean out of my “comfort zone” in hopes for peace of mind and learning more about myself”
Nathaniel cites his major influences as being varied across a wide array of genres. "But ones that have moved me in ways that will remain forever are-” Damien Jurado, Ben Howard, Townes Van Zandt and Gregory Alan Isakov.
As I always do, I asked Nathaniel for a story from the road/stage. “Once I played in an abandoned tourist attraction that was a massive cave and at the top was a building they turned into a cool little venue. The backdrop was a curtain, and behind the curtain was an entrance to the cave, which has no electricity but a creepy light rail from when the tunnels were open to the public. I do not know how far the cave goes but it had to have been a good 15 minute walk before we turned around.”
Nathaniel will be releasing an EP before the end of the year. He has tracked the entirety of it himself over this past summer. “It has been a special process for me and I am very excited to present it.”