with Adrian Sutherland

Adrian is from Attawapiskat First Nation on James Bay. He’s the frontman of the all-Cree roots/rock band Midnight Shine, and in mid-September he released his debut solo album When the Magic Hits. The nine-song album includes collaborations with Serena Ryder, Jay Semko, Colin Cripps (Blue Rodeo) and others, and sees Sutherland in a reflective mood. “The world we live in seems to be in chaos, with no signs of settling back down to ‘normal’ anytime soon,” he says. “Some of these things scare me at times. Not knowing where all the love is, not knowing where we’re heading as a country. Are we truly ready to walk with each other in a good way?” Here are six songs Adrian considers favourites. /Gregory Beatty

A Whiter Shade of Pale”
Procol Harum, Procol Harem (1967) YouTube
I love when the organ cracks the air — man that just really sets the mood for this song. Such a classic!

“Holding On”
The War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding (2017) YouTube
I first discovered this band in Vancouver at a festival. After I heard their set, they were sitting across from us in the artist hospitality tent. I couldn’t muster up enough courage to speak to them, but I have been hooked on their music ever since.

The Killers, Battle Born (2012) YouTube
This song reminds me of young love and going back to when life was a lot less complicated.

“Heart of Gold”
Neil Young, Harvest (1972) YouTube
My all-time favourite Neil Young tune, I even covered it with my band Midnight Shine on the High Road album. We put a First Nations spin on it by singing a verse in Cree.

“I Won’t Back Down”
Tom Petty, Full Moon Fever (1989) YouTube
For me it’s about standing up and fighting for what you believe in. The world can be harsh at times, but a little grit can get you a long way.

“Rose Coloured Glasses”
Blue Rodeo, Outskirts (1987) YouTube
My cousins and I played in a cover band as teens, and we would play these songs all the time — I mean ALL THE TIME! We didn’t know that many songs and were crazy about Blue Rodeo growing up, and still love this band.