In June of 2017 Midnight North released their third studio album: Under the Lights. On this full length record, Midnight North left it all on the court. Recorded by David Simon-Baker (Los Lobos, ALO, Jackie Greene, Mother Hips) at the Greene Room and Allegiant Studios, Under the Lights features their 11 best new tunes. Expect flares of country on tracks like “The Highway Song” and “Greene County”, tinges of soul on the likes of “Back To California”, but mostly good solid rock and roll. With strong melodies and stronger harmonies, for this band it comes down to one thing: the song.
Immediately after their last studio release, 2015’s Scarlet Skies, Midnight North - fronted by lead songwriters Elliott Peck & Grahame Lesh with lush Hammond B3 organ, lead guitar, and harmony work from Alex Jordan and stomping bass lines from Connor O’Sullivan - began touring the country in earnest, visiting the East Coast and the Midwest for the first time in Summer 2015. The band wrote the majority of Under the Lights in the following months, and the lyrical road themes - the initial excitement, the longing for home, and the inherent need to keep moving - shine through.
“Under the Lights is the perfect title for this collection of songs,” said O’Sullivan. “These songs and lyrics are about being a band of musicians on the road away from home. Songs literally performed and tested under the lights at countless venues across the US.”
Last year, while work in the studio continued, the band’s stream of amazing live shows and festival appearances sped by as the band jammed with heavyweights like Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Tom Hamilton, Mihali Savoulidis, and more. Hitting the road night after night and building their fan base has proved a lot of fun and every time they come back to a city the venues and crowds get bigger while the songs get tighter. “On the road you have an opportunity to dig into what the band is capable of and learn where your limits as a group are and aren’t,” said Jordan. “It was a wonderful opportunity to capture a sound on this album that is identifiably our own.”
In addition to all the touring, Midnight North is on year five of holding down Sunday nights at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, CA. To celebrate the occasion, they released a free live album, Live at Terrapin Crossroads in 2016, where Relix Magazine took a shine to “the group’s powerful three-part harmonies.” Performing weekly for a hometown crowd allows a chance to continuously test new material. “I feel like I’ll come to the band with this raw idea and watch it totally come to life,” said Peck.
2017 will continue the growth for Midnight North, as the exciting release of Under the Lights helps point the way for more and more fans to discover the band. “These songs tell our story, at least up to this point,” said Lesh. “Our job is to sing you these stories as honestly as we can and transport you into our world for an hour or two.”
They say if you work hard enough, opportunity flies like seed on the wind. Midnight North sustain this as truth. Gigs one after another. Set lists like a jukebox that has overflowed. A musical guest list longer than New Year’s Eve. For this band, it’s all about the song. 2015 came bearing the gift of rapid territorial expansion for Midnight North. They landed a coveted late night slot at their first High Sierra Music Festival and became regulars on the California summer festival circuit. The band made a lot of new fans on a successful East Coast summer tour and gave Chicago and Southern California a taste while they were at it. When you come to a Midnight North show, you’ll find Elliott Peck, Grahame Lesh and Alex Jordan sliding into three part harmonies that are as comfortable as an old pair of jeans. You’ll hear bassist Connor O’Sullivan and new drummer Alex Koford making themselves at home in any groove from a stomp to a slow-burn or boogie. Settle in and you might find Midnight North writing a new page in the American songbook. In addition to all the touring, Midnight North is entering their third year of holding down a weekly gig at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, CA where they began webcasting live and connecting with fans as far away as Japan. Every Sunday night, you are one click away from tuning in for fun nights like one in June of 2014 that had Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh standing in for an out-of-town Connor. This is a band that is as happy logging highway miles as it is keeping the home fires warm.
Midnight North released two recordings in 2015. Scarlet Skies, the band's second full length album was released on June 9th and Stayin' Single, Drinkin' Doubles, a 4 song digital EP, was released on Valentine's Day 2015. About the EP’s title track, The Washington Post has this to say: “the Dead never wrote a song quite like 'Stayin’ Single, Drinkin’ Doubles'. Sung by Elliott Peck, the live staple is an exuberant, twangy anthem with a tinge of sadness that could pass for a Kacey Musgraves tune.”
Grahame Lesh has been woodshedding with the great American songbook over the last few years, performing with Phil Lesh & Friends at Levon Helm's Midnight Rambles, festivals across the country and, of late, performing with the house band at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, CA.
Now Grahame, joined in the songwriting department by Elliott Peck, has formed Midnight North so they can add their own pages to that songbook. Midnight North follows the path of a long line of successfully crafted California country-rock music that spans from Bakersfield to the Bay. A year of steady gigging has yielded a calm confident unit anchored by Connor Jon O'Sullivan's propulsive bass and Eric Saar behind the kit.
Midnight North's debut album, End of the Night, sonically picks up where Ryan Adams & the Cardinals and others left off, heartfelt rock & folk songs decked out in a tidy country rock nudie suit, smartly tailored with intuitively tight vocal harmonies and a steady beat. Produced by Connor and Grahame and recorded amidst the redwood groves at In The Pocket Studios in Forestville, CA, End of the Night peaks with a soaring slow burner that no great rock album would be complete without, Peck's "All Remains the Same." Worth a listen: the crisp guitars and memorable melody of opener “Falling,” the band strutting through “Miss M", the gorgeous playing and singing on “Hold Me Down” and of course, the closing title track. Lesh put it best when he said, “We’ve got a little bit of country in us, but it’s just rock n’ roll.”