Adrian Sutherland – Attawapiskat First Nation ON (lead vocals, guitars, keys)
Stan Louttit – Moose Cree First Nation ON (bass, vocals)
Zach Tomatuk – Moose Cree First Nation ON (guitar, vocals)
Charnelle Menow – Norway House Cree Nation MB (drums, vocals)
They came together by chance. They stayed together for a shot. When Adrian Sutherland from the isolated Cree community of Attawapiskat was offered opening spot for a Trooper concert in Timmins, he reeled in three other musicians from the James Bay region to form Midnight Shine. His intention back in 2011 was to make the most of a one-off performance. Nine years, nine “Top 10” radio singles, three albums, and 300+ media stories later… you could say he has.
Turning heads with an unforgettable sound that seamlessly mixes roots, classic and modern rock with touches of Mushkegowuk Cree, Adrian Sutherland & Midnight Shine have been lighting up the music world all the way from Canada’s Far North.
Crafting a musical soundscape that gives a glimpse into their remote Canadiana landscape, they continue to push musical boundaries and boldly take new strides, while staying true to who they are and where they come from. A must-see band you’ll take a real shine to.
Adrian Sutherland and Midnight Shine would like to recognize Canada Council for the Arts, Air Creebec, FACTOR, and Ontario Arts Council, for supporting in so many ways.
Adrian Sutherland has so far released three studio albums with his band Midnight Shine: High Road (2018), Northern Man (2014) and Midnight Shine (2013). For the latest album, High Road, two different producers were on board: John-Angus MacDonald (The Trews) recorded seven songs at Jukasa Studios in Ohsweken, Ontario, and Tim Vesely (Rheostatics) recorded two tracks at The Woodshed in Toronto (Blue Rodeo’s studio).
Something new is adding touches of cultural embellishment to their music, with occasional Cree lyrics, hand-drumming, and a little creatively-placed pow wow. Lead single on High Road is an exceptional cover of Neil Young’s Heart of Gold, bringing a timely new sound to the timeless classic.
The Heart of Gold music video received 3k views on its first day of release, 30k the first two weeks, and media coverage from coast-to-coast. It has been called “joyful, beautiful, important, and truly Canadian” by music lovers around the world, and is getting spins on radio stations across North America and internationally. The video has so far received 225k views, and counting.
Debut video I Need Angels draws attention to the suicide crisis: “There are a lot of people struggling in Canada’s far North. Being isolated can be tough, and I know a lot of people who suffer from depression,” says Adrian Sutherland. “I Need Angels is about that inner struggle to not give up, and to hang on to hope and faith despite the darkness.” Shot in Attawapiskat, the stunningly beautiful video has been labelled “passionate and powerful” and is resonating widely, with more than 87k views.
Four tracks (Velocity, Sister Love, In the Midst, Northern Man) claimed #1 on the Indigenous Music Countdown (IMC). Debut single Since You Been Gone climbed to #2, Heart of Gold (Cover) reached #3, Lonely Boy hit #4, Leather Skin peaked at #7, and Over You broke into the top-ten at #9.
Midnight Shine’s presence at 2016 CMW sparked a massive media buzz netting Toronto Star’s front page, CBC’s The National, CTV’s Canada AM, Canadian Press, Daily Vice, National Post, Metro Canada, Hamilton Spectator, Winnipeg Free Press, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Sun, and more. Media from Victoria to Charlottetown picked up the story, quite possibly making them the first ever indie band to gain nationwide media attention before ever setting foot on tour.
A self-taught hockey player, Adrian was thrilled to play his favourite game alongside other hockey-playing musicians and former NHL greats in JUNO Cups in Ottawa (2017), Vancouver (2018), London (2019) and (almost) Saskatoon (2020).
In addition to making contemporary music, Adrian is a traditional knowledge keeper of the Mushkegowuk Cree of the James Bay. He speaks his language, participates in harvests, takes part in ceremonies, and is a genuine example of someone who lives authentically. He is a father of four, grandfather of four, hard-working husband, and respected leader, proud of who he is and where he comes from. Adrian is a real-life inspiration to Canadians everywhere, and a positive role model who brings hope to people in places where hope can be hard to find.
With a growing and significant voice on many issues in Canada today, Adrian speaks from his mind and cares from his heart. He is an insightful and resilient advocate with first-hand perspective on the challenges facing Attawapiskat and other First Nations, like contaminated water, critical housing shortages, rampant addiction, and the ongoing suicide crisis.
At this time of increasing awareness around Reconciliation, Adrian is hopeful for all Canadians to continue taking steps together.