Attawapiskat ON via Winnipeg MB – A free-spirited, sacred four, Canadian Band, Midnight Shine, released a music video to the infamous song Heart of Gold with indigenous style and soul that pierces the heart of our indigenous beliefs to the words of the song, “I wanna live, I wanna give…” The High Road Album delivers songs that will empower your spirit, for young and old. The lyrics and music has brought enlightenment to my life, and many that can relate to the experience of the pains of residential school and child welfare and the hardships life in general, so we may live in a good way. I had the honour to talk a moment with Adrian Sutherland, the lead singer, while they graced our City with their powerful presence of music awhile back.
When 16-year-old Adrian Sutherland in the isolated Cree community of Attawapiskat borrowed a harmonica from an Elder, he fashioned a homemade harness using a coat-hanger, two sticks and elastic bands, and set out to learn Neil Young’s Heart of Gold. He had no way of knowing back then, that 25 years later, his own musical journey would come full circle with the release of a music video that not only pays homage to the song, but also the place where he learned to play it.
In October 2018, a production crew of three travelled to Sutherland’s home in Attawapiskat in remote Northern Ontario with 14 cases of gear and one ambitious plan: shooting two music videos in five days. Getting the job done in only four, they used the remaining time to shoot this fun little video for Heart of Gold. You could say it came together spontaneously, magically, and with a little help from some friendly faces… check it out today on the Tinnitist music website.
Heart of Gold was shot and directed by motion picture cinematographer Cliff Hokanson, and produced by RoseAnna Schick, with Sutherland as executive producer. The video was edited by a first-time editor and college student Bethany Fontaine, with colouring and effects by Tony Wytinckat White Ink Digital Post in Winnipeg.
TIMELY NEW TAKE ON TIMELESS CLASSIC
Midnight Shine recorded Heart of Gold for their third album High Road. It brings a timely new take to a timeless classic, and is a song that means a lot to Sutherland:
“Growing up in an isolated area, I listened to a lot of music, especially once I started playing the guitar. Neil Young was one of my biggest musical inspirations, and Heart of Gold is still one of my favourite songs. We wanted to record it, but in a way that’s different from everyone else. That’s how we ended up giving it a little ‘shine’ of our own, and we’re really happy with the way it turned out.”
Midnight Shine’s version honours the heart and soul of the original, yet is distinctly different, featuring heavy drum beat, slide guitar, pow wow singing, and a verse performed in Mushkegowuk Cree. With 2019 having been declared the International Year of Indigenous Languages by the United Nations and UNESCO, the timing couldn’t be better for a song like this cover.
Midnight Shine’s Heart of Gold continues to gain new fans across Canada, into the US, and internationally, with ever-increasing radio airplay and growing streaming numbers. Music critics are impressed, too, with several rave reviews, and accolades from Neil Young’s own biographer:
“Quite a fascinating version of Neil’s song. Love the First Nations’ feel of it. Very cool…” — John Einarson, Neil Young Biographer & Music Historian
Heart of Gold is written by Neil Young, with lyrics translated into Mushkegowuk Cree by Sutherland, and recorded with permission from Wixen Music Publishing, Inc. It was produced by Midnight Shine and John-Angus MacDonald (The Trews) at Jukasa Studios in Ohsweken, Ontario, with engineers Jill Zimmermann and Darren Magierowski, and mastered in Toronto by João Carvalho.
A FEW FUN FACTS
Midnight Shine had to hire a drummer to come into the studio with them to record Heart of Gold, and was more than fortunate to end up working with an incredible talent in Chris Gormley (The Trews).
Heart of Gold opens with Indigenous chanting and pow wow singing – both performed by Sutherland. He can also be heard on lead vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, and slide guitar.
It turns out that translating the first verse into Mushkegowuk Cree was difficult to do. Here’s why: “There are Cree words for different types of rocks and minerals, so when we describe gold we say ‘money rock.’ But ‘heart of gold’ really means someone ‘good hearted’ so that’s how I translated it into Cree. A direct translation would have confused people in the Cree communities.”
ABOUT MIDNIGHT SHINE
They came together by chance. They stayed together for a shot.
When Adrian Sutherland from Attawapiskat was offered an opening spot for Trooper in Timmins, he reeled in three other musicians from his remote James Bay region to form Midnight Shine. Their intention was to make the most of a one-off performance. Eight years, three albums, six Top 10 IMC radio singles, and 200+ media stories later… you could say they have.
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 with songs that share a glimpse of life in Canada’s far North. 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-hear band you’ll take a real shine to.
Adrian Sutherland and Midnight Shine would like to thank Canada Council for the Arts for their support to make the music video, and Air Creebec for helping the band travel out of Ontario’s isolated North. The recording of the song was supported by the Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation. The Ontario Arts Council has also assisted Adrian Sutherland and Midnight Shine with previous projects.
The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder, with a mandate to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts. The Council champions and invests in artistic excellence through a broad range of grants, services, prizes and payments to professional Canadian artists and arts organizations. Its work ensures that excellent, vibrant and diverse art and literature engages Canadians, enriches their communities and reaches markets around the world. The Council also raises public awareness and appreciation of the arts through its communications, research and arts promotion activities. It is responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO in Canada to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts.