Roots, classic and modern rock with touches of Mushkegowuk Cree - Attawapiskat, Ontario
Turning heads with a sound that seamlessly mixes roots, classic and modern rock with touches of Mushkegowuk Cree, Midnight Shine has 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 landscape, Midnight Shine continues to push musical boundaries and boldly take new strides, while staying true to who they are and where they come from.
They came together by chance in 2011, when Adrian Sutherland from the isolated Cree community of Attawapiskat was offered opening spot for Trooper in Timmins. He reeled in three other musicians from the James Bay to form Midnight Shine, with the intention of making the most of a one-off performance. Nine years, three albums, six Top 10 IMC radio singles, and 300+ media stories later… you could say he has.
With departure of drummer George Gillies in 2017, a replacement was needed. The search reached into Northern Manitoba and Norway House Cree Nation, home of drummer/singer Charnelle Menow and all-female all-Cree rock band Drink Me Pretty. Charnelle played four shows with the Shine in 2018, and it was magical! Watch for her on the kit and backing vocals throughout 2019, and check out her debut studio performance with the band in CBC Music’s recording of The Tragically Hip’s iconic ballad Bobcaygeon for Junos 365.
Midnight Shine’s third album High Road was released in 2018 with two producers 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 for Midnight Shine is adding touches of cultural embellishment to their music, with hand-drumming, occasional Cree lyrics, 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 a timeless classic. The music video for Heart of Gold received 3k views on its first day of release, 30k in its first two weeks, and media coverage from coast to coast. It’s being called “joyful, beautiful, important, and truly Canadian.” People from around the world are being drawn to the song, and discovering the band in the process.
Debut video I Need Angels draws attention to the suicide crisis in Indigenous communities, particularly when it comes to youth. “There are a lot of people struggling in Canada’s far North. Being isolated can be very tough, and I know a lot of people who suffer from depression. I Need Angels is about that inner struggle to keep positive and not give up, and to hang on to hope and faith despite the darkness.” The stunningly beautiful video has been labelled “passionate and powerful” and is resonating with many.
Midnight Shine’s presence at 2016 CMW sparked a massive media buzz netting front page of the Toronto Star, 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 outlets from Victoria to Charlottetown picked up their extraordinary story, possibly making Midnight Shine the first ever Canadian indie band to garner nationwide media attention before even setting foot on tour...
Three tracks (Sister Love, In the Midst, Northern Man) reached the very top of the Indigenous Music Countdown (IMC), which plays on SiriusXM Canada and radio stations across the country. Debut single Since You Been Gone climbed to #2. Heart of Gold hit #3. Over You peaked at #9. Velocity is now climbing.
In addition to making contemporary music, Sutherland is a traditional knowledge and language keeper of his Mushkegowuk Cree people of the James Bay, participates in seasonal harvests, and is a genuine example of someone who lives authentically. He is a father, grandfather, hard-working husband, and respected leader, proud of who he is and where he comes from. Adrian and Midnight Shine are real-life inspirations to people all over the North, and positive role models who bring hope to people in places where hope can be hard to find.