Anyone who has listened closely to Nathaniel Rateliff’s music over the years, knows he comes by it with a full heart and a great deal of empathy. Inspired by Willie Nelson’s incredible work with Farm Aid, in 2017 Nathaniel Rateliff formed The Marigold Project – a non-profit foundation which seeks to fund strategies that solve problems caused by income inequality, boost civic engagement, spark creativity, offer equitable access to growing and consuming good food, and encourage gender and racial justice.
In 2018, the foundation launched The Marigold Singles Series. Released in partnership with Fantasy Records, these special digital and 7” collaborations feature an eclectic range of notable musicians and friends with beneficiaries chosen by the artists’ common beliefs and the subject matter of the songs. The first installment of the series was released in 2019 with Rateliff and John Prine performing Prine’s classic “Sam Stone,” as well as a cover of Prine’s “Summer’s End” with Courtney Marie Andrews. The track’s proceeds benefited The Sierra Club Military Outdoor and Harm Reduction Center, which seeks to improve the lives of veterans and their families through connections with the outdoors and inspire members of the military and veteran community to become outspoken champions for environmental conservation and justice.
On Willie Nelson’s birthday (April 29th, 2020), Nathaniel and a host of friends and family paid tribute with “Willie’s Birthday Song,” the series’ second release, which features Bobbie Nelson, Mickey Raphael, Lukas and Micah Nelson, Nikki Lane and members of The Night Sweats. Proceeds aided Farm Aid, whose mission is to keep family farmers on their land, and StrongHearts Native Helpline, which confronts issues of domestic violence in the Native American community.
The latest release, a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “There Is A War,” performed by Nathaniel, Kevin Morby and Sam Cohen landed on October 30th, 2020. The track’s proceeds support The Highlander Research & Education Center, which serves as a catalyst for grassroots organizing and movement building in Appalachia and the South.