They came together by chance. They stayed together for a shot.
When singer/songwriter Adrian Sutherland from Attawapiskat was offered opening spot for Trooper in Timmins, he reeled in some musicians from remote Northern Ontario to form temporary band Midnight Shine. Their intention was to make the most of this one-off performance. Eight years, five Top 10 radio singles, three albums, and 200+ media stories later… you could say they have.
Turning heads with a sound that seamlessly mixes roots, classic and modern rock, Midnight Shine’s music is anchored by eloquent lyrics and heartfelt vocals that share a glimpse of what life is like in the far North. They have a winning combination of energy, experience, and passion, that has evolved into an impressive and compelling sonic identity, and distinct style.
Midnight Shine’s highly-anticipated third album, titled High Road, comes out February 23, 2018, with two different producers on the project: John-Angus MacDonald (The Trews) recorded seven songs at Jukasa Studios in Six Nations, and Tim Vesely (Rheostatics) recorded two tracks at The Woodshed in Toronto (studio owned by Blue Rodeo).
Something new for Midnight Shine is adding touches of cultural embellishments to their music. On the High Road album you’ll hear hand-drumming, lyrics sung in Cree, even a little creatively-placed pow wow . The result is a roots/rock band pushing musical boundaries and boldly taking new strides, while staying true to who they are and where they come from.
The lead single from High Road is an exceptional cover of Neil Young’s Heart of Gold, bringing a timely new sound to this timeless classic. Midnight Shine made it distinctly different, yet it still honours the heart and soul of the original. Neil Young Biographer John Einarson calls it “a fascinating version of Neil’s song” and “very cool.” It was produced by Midnight Shine, along with John-Angus MacDonald. (FUN FACT: Listen for Chris Gormley from Big Sugar on drums!)
Midnight Shine’s previous two albums, Midnight Shine (2013) and Northern Man (2014) have been making ever-widening ripples among fans, industry, and media. They also caught the attention of Ralph James of APA Agency, one of Canada’s most renowned booking agents, who knew right away that Midnight Shine has something special. Ralph is now one of their biggest supporters and industry champions.
Midnight Shine kicked off their first-ever tour at 2017 RBC Ottawa Bluesfest on the mainstage, prior to Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. They also played Toronto, Hamilton, Vancouver, Guelph, Timmins, Thunder Bay, and more. Shows are being lined up for summer of 2018, with big stages coming up in Winnipeg, Timmins, London, Vancouver, and more.
On the radio front, Midnight Shine’s music has been featured, spotlighted, or spun regularly, on radio stations big and small across Canada. Three songs reached #1 on the Indigenous Music Countdown (Sister Love, In the Midst, Northern Man), debut single Since You Been Gone climbed to #2, and second singleOver You peaked at #9.
Adrian Sutherland – a self-taught hockey player – was offered a spot in the 2017 JUNO Cup in Ottawa, and performed at JUNO Cup Jam. His high-level hockey skills got him invited back for 2018 JUNO Cup, this time in Vancouver, where he will once again join the ‘Rockers’ in an epic battle of ‘Rocks vs. Jocks’ celebrity hockey.
In addition to making contemporary music, Sutherland – who is fluent in Mushkegowuk Cree, his native language – is a traditional knowledge keeper of his people, sings pow wow, participates in spring and fall harvests, and is a genuine example of someone who lives authentically. He is a father, grandfather, hard-working husband, and cultural leader, proud of who he is, and his home in the North. He is an inspiration to people all over the James Bay, and a true role model who brings hope to people in places where they sometimes have a hard time finding hope.
While Adrian’s home has been the subject of negative media attention in the past, he would like to change those perceptions: “There are many good stories to be told from Attawapiskat, and from all over the North. I hope we’re one of them.”