Joseph Pope III of the Night Sweats Creates Coronavirus Mural

Very few touring acts were spared from the crushing cancellations the coronavirus brought as it reached pandemic levels in the United States a week or so ago. Even Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats had to pull themselves off the road in precaution of spread and as a result of the abundance of venue closures across the country. Trying to find a way to stay creative and address the times in self-imposed quarantine, bassist Joseph Pope III decided to put his energies into a timely mural in the Baker neighborhood.

“My family and I are experiencing what a lot of families are experiencing – uncertainty and anxiety in keeping their kids fed and educated and healthy while taking time to appreciate what we don’t often have; time together to be creative as we navigate this new reality,” said Pope regarding the new mural. “Two weeks ago, on self-imposed quarantine having just returned home from NYC where we had indefinitely suspended the Nathaniel Rateliff tour, not only was I brainstorming projects for our newly established home school, but I was also filled with a cathartic desire to speak something to myself and neighbors about the urgency, helplessness and desperation many of us are feeling in this moment.
This work was originally inspired by a Washington Post article which presented four graphs showing four very different outcomes for the spread of the coronavirus and emphasizing that our degree of participation in social distancing would heavily influence whether we could flatten the curve. It struck me that for all the times we feel our voice is not heard or our vote does not matter, our independent actions in this crisis truly have direct and immediate effects on not just those in close proximity to us but fellow humans across our global community, and in disturbingly real-time.
No one is unaffected by this crisis no matter where in the shuffle we find ourselves and perhaps the resiliency needed to weather the storm is simply in the asking the antidote found in daily having to create the answer actively, our future dissolved completely into the immediacy of the present moment and the knowledge that we are truly in this together. To be a light to those around me who find themselves out on the frontline’s of essential work, or to my neighbors suddenly at home, looking out the same windows, pacing the floors and sidewalks at a time of day they are usually at work to focus the chaos for a moment into creation, or to simply use up the old paint I had lying around instead of driving to the store on an impulse to consume, I’m really just selfishly trying to process the fact that things will never be the same, and try and tease the little rudder of the ship toward the new land the best I can.”
Recently Nathaniel Rateliff has taken on the live streaming medium himself, performing some of his beloved tunes with Rolling Stone Magazine and Luck Reunion, the anti-festival held on Willie Nelson’s Ranch in Luck, Texas that was also canceled amidst the spread of the coronavirus. The band released their latest full-length effort, Tearing at the Seams in 2018.

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