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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Midnight Shine Comes Full Circle

It was 2013 when Adrian Sutherland from the Cree community of Attawapiskat released his debut album James Bay with newly-formed band Midnight Shine. This collection of songs written by Sutherland provided the foundation needed to start pursuing his musical dream from the Far North. Now, these songs are returning to the forefront in a fully remastered version of James Bay available now on all digital platforms, and via Sutherland’s own label Midnight Shine Music.

The new editon of James Bay features stunning artwork of its namesake region, and a special greeting by Adrian in his Mushkegowuk Cree language. In addition, the album includes two bonus tracks: a brand new radio edit of debut single “Since You Been Gone.” and the previously unreleased “Misguided Woman,” one of the first songs Sutherland ever wrote.

“It’s been pretty special to revisit this album," he says. "These are some of the songs that mean the most to me, and that I’m most proud to share. The fans who have been with us from the beginning, they already know and love Midnight Shine’s early songs and we’re sure they’ll enjoy the remastered versions – they sound amazing! For new fans, releasing these songs again will bring new attention to the music that laid the early groundwork for the band.”

A strong sense of melody has always been at the heart of Adrian Sutherland’s songwriting. Inspired by his musically-inclined mother, and the many artists he grew up listening to on the radio, Sutherland’s lyrics often reveal what life has been like for him in the North.

Title track “James Bay” pays homage to Sutherland’s remote home region in Northern Ontario, while “Mooshum” honours the memory of his grandfather. “Indian In Disguise” makes a powerful statement about losing one’s identity, and “Save My Life” reveals the darkness that comes with addiction – a struggle that Sutherland (now sober 20 years) has known firsthand. On the lighter side, “Hopeless Romantic” is a love song about secretly yearning for someone who “don’t even know my name,” while “Small Town Girl” paints the picture of “a simple smile, one of a kind.”

Songwriting is Sutherland’s way of sharing parts of his life, while bringing further awareness to important issues. He says, “Everybody has a story to share, and I think it’s important for First Nations people to shed positive light on our culture and values. That’s what I hope to do with my music.” Within the past year, Sutherland has gained attention for his cover of Neil Young's "Heart Of Gold" sung in Cree, and for his scathing protest song "Politician Man," the video for which won a prestigious Golden Sheaf Award at the Yorkton Film Festival. He was also a featured performer at the 2020 Indspire Awards gala, broadcast on CBC and APTN.

Jason Schneider - Publicist


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