Throughout Nate’s childhood in Boston, his parents saw his talent for music, and made sure he had the tools and space to grow into a creative and skilled musician. Amidst the race riots and the busing crisis of the 1970s Nate was living in “all white” South Boston and going to school in “all black” Roxbury. This exposed him to a wide range of music and culture and gave him the basis for an understanding of, and a deep respect for so-called black music. Landing at Berklee College of Music in the early 90s, Nate studied Film Scoring and eventually earned his degree in Jazz Composition. As a player he shied away from the competitive bebop jazz style and found himself falling more and more deeply in love with Jamaican Music.
When he came to Ithaca in 2001, Nate Silas Richardson was 3 years into his 8 year tenure with the now internationally acclaimed John Brown’s Body, recording extensively and touring all over the US, including Hawaii and also the Bahamas. Nate’s approach to the guitar and keys was integral in shaping the evolving sound of JBB as were his many contributions to recordings by the Sim Redmond Band, 10ft Ganja Plant, Crow Greenspun and others. In 2003, having discovered the traditional Mandenka music of West Africa, Nate sought out and delved into regular private study with Malian kora master Mamadou Diabate in Ithaca and guitarist Musa Cissoko in NYC.
In 2006 having married and become a father, Nate decided to stop touring with JBB and to accept a long standing invitation to become an official member of the Sim Redmond Band. After an extensive tour of Japan with SRB, Nate also accepted a full time job as head engineer at REP Studio (repstudio.com) and immediately set to work on a collaborative work with Senegalese kora master Malang Jobateh, titled “Badema (One Human Family)” (I-Town 2007), and has since produced several independent artists including the Basabakwinshi Choir from Rwanda, and Miriam Aziz from Hyères, France. Nate also was at the controls during mixing of Thousands of One’s “Soulforce” (I-Town 2008) and Solstice’s “Red Sky” (independent 2009)
In the meantime Nate made brief appearances on Samite Mulundo’s soundtrack to the film “Taking Root: the Vision of Wangari Maathai” (2008), “King Astronaut” (Iron Man UK 2007) by Anti-folk legends Dufus, and Five2’s “Sweet End” (I-Town 2006), and edited and mixed audio for the feature film “Invisible Ink” by filmmaker Christopher Julian (2007).
At the end of the decade Nate began to achieve a slight amount of success at slowing down. Minimal touring with SRB and a regular 9-5 job at the studio afforded him more time with his growing family, until he got a call from Bill Thomas’ Second Wind Tour. The 25 city tour played in some of the most beautiful theaters in the US, and had Nate and Samite closing the show as a duo, with up to 1,200 attendees on their feet, dancing and singing along. And in 2013 Nate was musical director and producer of the album project “1914 Reimagined”, which culminated in a live New Years Eve performance of 14 songs from the year 1914, deconstructed and arranged for a 8 piece modern rock band.
As Bandleader: “Silas – Uproot” (I-Town 1999), “Nate Silas Richardson and the Century Players – 1914 Reimagined” (2014), “Malang Jobateh and Nate Silas Richardson – BADEMA” (I-Town 2007).
with Sim Redmond Band: “Life is Water” (2001), and “Shining Through” (2004), “Each New Day” (2006), “LIVE at Grassroots” (2007), “Room in These Skies” (2008), “Open the Door” (2010) all released on I-Town in the US and Buffalo/Yellow Bus Records in Japan
with 10 Ft Ganja Plant: “Presents” (2000), Hillside Airstrip” (2002), “Midnight Landing” (2003), “Bass Chalice” (2005), “Bush Rock” (2009), “10 Deadly Shots Vol.1” (2010), “Shake Up the Place” (2011), “10 Deadly Shots Vol.2” (2012), “Skycatcher” (2013), “10 Deadly Shots Vol.3” (2014), all on ROIR Records with several charting in the top 10 on CMJ’s New World chart and at least one youtube video with over 1 million hits.
with Samite: “Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai” (original soundtrack to the film, 2008), “My Music World” (Samite Music 2010)
with Joe Crookston: “Live at the State Theatre, Ithaca NY” (Milagrito 2013), “Georgia I’m Here” (Milagrito 2014), “Seven Seconds” (Milagrito 2014)
with Adonai and I: “Adonai and I” (I-Town 2002), “Adonai in Dub” (Tzadik 2003), “Feast of the Passover” (Tzadik 2009), “Dub of the Passover” (Tzadik 2010)
with John Brown’s Body: “Among Them” (Shannachie 1998), “This Day” (Shannachie 2000), “Spirits All Around Us” (Shannachie 2002), “Justin Hinds with John Brown’s Body – Live at the Grassroots” (I-Town 2005), “Pressure Points” (Easy Star 2005), “Kings And Queens” (Easy Star 2013)
with Crow Greenspun: “Never Be It’s Own” (2003) and “Blood and Decision” (2005) both on I-Town Records
with Black Castle: “Black Castle” (I-Town 2000)
with Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad: “Slow Down” (independent release 2006)
with Water Bear: “Live at the Congo” (independent release 2009)