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TAKING THE HIGH ROAD: Midnight Shine’s third album reaching new places

TAKING THE HIGH ROAD: Midnight Shine’s third album reaching new places

It’s a little bit cliché to say it’s been a long road for Midnight Shine to get here. It’s a little bit ironic, too, considering they come from places you can’t even get to by roads…

The roots/rockers who have been lighting up the music world all the way from remote Northern Ontario are releasing their highly-anticipated third album, HIGH ROAD, on February 23. It’s an album about resilience, something Midnight Shine’s frontman Adrian Sutherland knows firsthand.

“Growing up in Attawapiskat was a real challenge. Kids can be cruel to each other, and I was bullied a lot,” says Sutherland, who’d seek escape though music, or by spending time out on the land, learning about his Mushkegowuk Cree culture and traditions. “Resilience is something I had to learn at an early age, and it became part of who I am.”

“Living in Attawapiskat today, as an adult with a family of my own, requires even more resilience. There’s no hiding the truth about life in the North, and the fact that many of our communities are in a horrible state. We face frequent hardships, and struggle every day to find our way through it all. But we still have a choice to feel hope, and to empower ourselves to find peace.”

“A lot of the songs I’m writing these days keep coming back to being resilient, and not giving up. Through my music, I hope this message will resonate with people from the James Bay coast, and other isolated places. This album is for them.”


Two producers worked on HIGH ROAD, helping take Midnight Shine’s music and talent to new places. 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. The album was engineered by Darren “Jeter” Magierowski and Jill Zimmermann, and mastered by João Carvalho (who was nominated for a Grammy Award this year, congrats João!).

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 singing. 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.

In addition to Sutherland, Midnight Shine’s bassist Stanley Louttit, and lead guitarist Zach Tomatuk, musicians on HIGH ROAD are Chris GormleyZach SuttonJesse O’BrienGeorge GilliesTim Vesely, and John-Angus MacDonald. The album was produced with assistance from Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation, and is being released on the band’s own label, Midnight Shine Music.

The album artwork for HIGH ROAD portrays pristine wilderness landscapes from the James Bay region. Nick Perreault created the stunning design, using photographs shot out on the land by Sutherland’s wife, Judy. The 12-page booklet might best described as simply gorgeous, and definitely worth the view!


The lead single is an exceptional cover of Neil Young’s HEART OF GOLD, bringing a timely new sound to this timeless classic. Midnight Shine’s version is distinctly different, yet honours the heart and soul of the original. It was produced by Midnight Shine, along with John-Angus MacDonald. Check out a clip from Heart of Gold now! (FUN FACT: Listen for Chris Gormley from Big Sugar on drums!)

“This is quite a fascinating version of Neil’s song. Love the First Nations’ feel of it. Very cool.” — John Einarson, Music Historian 

HEART OF GOLD the single will debut on The Strombo Show on CBC Radio 2, February 18HIGH ROAD the album will receive its exclusive debut on CBC Music First PlayFebruary 15-22. The full album will be available online, everywhere, on February 23.


They came together by chance. They stayed together for a shot. When Adrian Sutherland from Attawapiskat was offered opening spot for Trooper in Timmins, he reeled in some Northern Ontario musicians to form temporary band Midnight Shine. Their intention was to make the most of this one-off performance. Eight years, five 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 life in the far North. A must-hear band you’ll take a real shine to…


Midnight Shine will return to Toronto for Canadian Music WeekMay 7-13. A busy summer schedule is currently in the works, with word already out about the following performances (and more show announcements coming soon):

Stars and Thunder Festival – Timmins, Ontario
June 25 mainstage performance, with Blue Rodeo and Colin James

Trackside Music Festival – London, Ontario
July 1 mainstage performance on Canada Day

Outside of concerts… Adrian Sutherland will take part as a presenter in RBC Bluesfest Blues in the Schools in Ottawa, from February 26 to March 9. Organized by RBC Ottawa Bluesfest (where Midnight Shine performed the main stage in 2017, prior to Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers), Blues in the Schools reaches out to students to involve them in the universal form of communication called music.

Adrian will take to the ice at the JUNO Cup celebrity hockey game in Vancouver, taking place March 23 during JUNO Week. It’s the second year he’ll join the Rockers’ team alongside Jim Cuddy, Devin Cuddy, Chad Brownlee, Dallas Smith, and others. The popular charity event raises funds in support of MusiCounts, which provides instruments to schools and community programs all over Canada.


RoseAnna Schick, RAS Creative / 204-783-7600

Ralph James, APA Agency / 416-646-7373

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