Not many bands play their very first show opening for legendary Canadian rockers. Then again, not many bands are quite like Midnight Shine.
When singer/songwriter Adrian Sutherland from Attawapiskat was invited to open for Trooper in Timmins in 2011, there was one condition: he perform with a band. So Adrian pulled together George Gillies (drums – Fort Albany), Zach Tomatuk (guitar – Moose Factory), and Stan Louttit (bass – Moose Factory), and Midnight Shine was born.
The Northern Ontario foursome has been together ever since, with a winning combination of energy, experience, and passion, and a distinct style that seamlessly blends roots, classic and modern rock. They’ve so far released two albums, Midnight Shine and Northern Man, that are quietly making ever-widening ripples among fans, industry, and media, and creating an impressive and compelling sonic identity that is turning heads. They also caught the attention of Ralph James, one of Canada’s most renowned booking agents. He knew right away that Midnight Shine has something special, signed the band to his roster, and is now one of their biggest supporters and industry champions.
Midnight Shine released new single Sister Love in March, an upbeat ballad sure to touch your soul. The song holds special meaning for Sutherland: “It’s about trying to free yourself from the burdens and struggles we sometimes have to carry. When we get stuck in a hard place, it would be nice to go back to those days when life was simple. In our thoughts we can go there, and be in that good place again, even just for a moment.” Also special to Adrian is the fact he co-wrote Sister Love with his sister Iris: “The idea was inspired by a poem my sister wrote. We made some changes to the lyrics to make it fit a song structure, I came up with the melody, and we put it all together.”
Midnight Shine is anchored by Sutherland’s eloquent lyrics, captivating vocals, and charismatic personality. Setting them apart from other rock bands is the exploration of Cree culture, tradition, and life in the North. Hailing from the remote community of Attawapiskat, Sutherland’s experiences are reflected in the songs he writes – making Midnight Shine’s music all the more meaningful, while at the same time, universal. They’re a ‘must-hear’ band you’ll take a real shine to.
In addition to making contemporary music, Sutherland – who is fluent in Cree – is a traditional knowledge keeper, sings pow wow, participates in spring and fall harvests, and is a genuine example of someone who lives authentically. He is a father, grandfather, and hard-working husband, proud of who he is, and where he comes from.
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.”
“One foot in the past, one in the here and now…”
– From the song Northern Man by Midnight Shine