Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats visited NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers on Wednesday, with the singer and his band offering a simmering, soul-drenched take on “Tearing at the Seams,” the title cut from the group’s 2018 LP.
Sung in a single take on the album that bears its name, and delivered on the Late Night set with an intensity that lies in the withered yet defiant space between Otis Redding and Van Morrison, “Tearing at the Seams” addresses the end of Rateliff’s marriage. When they recorded the studio version, Rateliff’s vocals reduced band bassist Joseph Pope III to tears.
“He had some open wounds coming in. You can hear it in his voice,'” Richard Swift, the album’s producer, told Rolling Stone. Swift, who died July 3rd from the effects of hepatitis, in addition to kidney and liver distress, also produced the band’s 2015 self-titled album.
Rateliff and the Night Sweats, whose albums for Stax Records have helped revive the iconic Memphis label, owe much of initial viral-video exposure to late-night TV, as Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon continually expressed his enthusiasm for the band before — and after — they appeared on his show in 2015 two weeks before their self-titled debut was released. The band will head into prime time later this month, playing “Hey Mama” and “You Worry Me” on the 100th episode of the CBS drama, NCIS: New Orleans. In addition to the performances, Rateliff will have a speaking role in the episode, which airs Tuesday, October 23rd at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.