Why I Cry in a Garden of Love

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How many times can I cry in one sitting? Over the years I’ve saved tweets, comments, notes and emails people have sent me to thank me for the role my music has had in their lives. I call it my Garden of Love, because I can go and ‘sit’ there whenever I lose my way or forget why it’s so important for me to get up again, no matter how many times I fall and fail. So, how many times can I cry in one sitting? When reading these the answer is simple: MANY!

I used to think it was weird to share something like this. Now, though, I’m proud of the healing the songs and stories I’m here to bring have brought to people….and so, without further ado, here are messages I’ve cried for, laughed with and been humbled by over the years: everything from notes from grandmas to a quote from Rolling Stone!

Your music grasped hold of my heart and gently taught it not to be afraid anymore. It raised my soul, and lead it of the dark little corner it had been occupying for so long. I laughed and cried at your music, and I FELT, felt things I’d been unable or unwilling to feel in a long time. You helped me realise that the advice I’ve spent years giving other people (“you deserve the absolute best”, “it’s okay to be different”) actually applied to me too. I genuinely believe, hand on my heart, that you and your music have had a direct impact in making me happier and more excited about life.

Eli (one of my first five patrons ever)

Nathan creates an intrinsic beauty in every vocal tip and pitch

Rolling Stone

Today, today, of all days, one year to the day since I had to bid him goodbye and face, again, the lonely terrible grief of widowhood – today, of all days, I find this lovely song and I’m smiling. I’m smiling, not crying, because Always Wandering is so lovely and gives me so much hope


I was gifted a perfect grandson a few days ago…and your perfect voice has calmed our frazzled nerves. The world needs more of you.


My heart was shattered. Partner I’ve been with since I was 15 was having an affair. I kicked him out. I was lost… Became clinically depressed. It was severe. I started to listen to your music. I bought your albums. Some songs touched me. You don’t know me but you have made a difference in how I’ve begun pulling myself up out of the darkness I was in. I wanted you to know that your music is amazing, and has made a HUGE difference in the worst part of my life. I can’t thank you enough. You sing the words some of us want to but don’t know how. You touch hearts. And THAT, is an amazing gift to the world. I thank you again <3


Think the kind of effect a Nathaniel Rateliff and Bon Iver collaboration might have on an emo-crowd.

The Tudor

I just wanted to say that your lyrics and music have helped me at one of the most difficult times in my life. If you ever think that you aren’t achieving anything or getting anywhere in life you have really helped me in moving forward and remaining hopeful for the future.


Your music is the best. Like little kisses to my eardrums.


You changed my life so much for the better. I was an angry and vexed individual and not really living or enjoying life. Since i discovered you…my life has turned around.


A cross between Death Cab For Cutie (think ‘I’ll Follow You into the Dark’) and what Damien Rice might sound like if he took a steady stream of Prozac. He’s wise, gentle, funny and insightful.

Scarlet Nguni

After I lost my wife to Cancer all I wanted was to be with her again.  I gave up on everything. I neglected my health, and everyone around me.  I couldn’t even get out of bed all I did was feel sorry for myself and I stayed in a constant state of depression.  It wasn’t until I heard Nathan sing Always Wandering that I began the crawl back to a place of hope.


I thank you for helping to heal me and let love bloom in my heart. It wasn’t there. Now it is, and some times there’s so much it overflows.


It was a truly wonderful performance which changed my perspective on music, and how it can be used to heal and unite. I was up until late on Youtube watching your content. I have since found a greater sense of clarity as to why I am on this earth, and what it is that I need to be doing with my time here.


The list goes on, I’ll stop there for now. Thank you with all my cracked, patched up and overflowing heart to every one of you who have opened your own hearts to this music medicine I’m honoured to share. Without you I’d be alone in a room forgetting to shine. You are my sun when I only look for clouds, the reminder that I am worthy of the love I seek to share with others. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I hope this has come across the way I intended, and not just some dude blowing his own trumpet. When people ask me what it is I do, I find it so hard to define, because ‘what I do’ is here in these beautiful words sent by incredible people from all over the world. They express is better than I ever could. Perhaps when someone asks me I’ll just smile and respond, “Visit my Garden of Love, then you’ll understand.”

With love, gratitude and an overflowing heart

PS: What’s the most beautiful thing someone has ever said to you? I hope you believe them (cos for sure it’s true) and I hope you read it all the time cos, if you’re anything like me, I imagine you have a tendency to forget!

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