Nate Barksdale Credit: Jules Graham

On the eve of the first day of fall, prolific Chicago soul man Nate Barksdale self-released Summer Was Over Before It Started. The pandemic eliminated so much of what Chicagoans cherish about the city’s warmest months, but Barksdale’s supple blend of neosoul melody and hip-hop percussion, wrapped up in R&B smoothness, captures the wistfulness that I always feel at the end of summer—and that I feel with an extra twinge at the end of a summer I barely got to enjoy. The oceanside riff of “Take Me As I Am” evokes a romantic sunset that lasts for hours, and on “Diamond Spurs” Barksdale’s syrupy, pitched-down vocals ride an arrangement of smoldering funk keys and resplendent percussion that’s steamy enough to fog up your windows. Suave and commanding, Barksdale can help you believe in your own power to push back the shortening days of onrushing winter and rekindle the warmth of summer.   v