Single Release: Adrian Sutherland, “Better”

Adrian Sutherland - "Better"

If I had two wings / I would learn to fly / I would do anything / Just to reach the sky / I knew there was something about you.”

Attawapiskat, ON roots-rocker Adrian Sutherland released his latest single, “Better,” just last Friday – itself a personal declaration of his love for his family, and thus a perfect fit to wrap up our week-long Valentine’s Day theme here today.

Some eagle-eyed readers out there may recall our feature on Adrian’s “When The Magic Hits” album last July – and if so, may also recall that of the three songs I chose to focus on with that piece, one would be the soaring power-ballad, “Make Me Better.”

Consolidating the title to simply “Better,” Sutherland not only shares his first single release this year, he also provides me with my own trip down memory lane to enjoy one of my favorite 2022 summer tunes once again. Co-written with Tim Vesely (Rheostatics), and recorded at The Woodshed Studio in Toronto, it was impossible to ignore this deeply moving tune when keeping the album on repeat for several hours/days/weeks last year during my daily commutes.

Adrian Sutherland

Indeed, I found myself looking over my previous musings from that album review, and stand 100% behind my original statement: Vesely’s piano notes set an emotional tone immediately, while Lyle Molzan’s drums and the unmistakable guitar rings from Colin Cripps (Blue Rodeo) perfectly sync with the pounding heartbeat in your own chest.

“This song is about the people in our lives that make us want to be better. For me, it’s my wife and family,” Adrian offers. “I live in a remote community in Canada’s Far North. When I travel for music, I have to be away from them for multiple days – even when it’s just one show!  But as the songs goes… if I had two wings, I would learn to fly… then I would be able to fly home to them sooner.”

While Sutherland’s poetic lyrics paint a tale of love and separation, the artwork for “Better” is equally symbolic to his home and family. Created by Adrian’s long time art director, Nick Perrault, a Canadian goose dominates the focal point, reflecting both the “two wings” reference from the lyrics – and the image itself a silhouette of a photograph taken by Adrian’s wife, Judy. Two circles behind the goose portray their wedding rings (and unconditional love), all set against the backdrop of the Northern Lights – another representation of their home in the Indigenous communities on James Bay in the upper regions of Ontario.

“Pursuing music is bittersweet for me, because I am ultimately doing it for my family, yet it takes me far away from the physically,” Adrian shares. “The people that we love make us better. They make us feel whole, and without them we are not complete.”

Photo Credit: Nadya Kwandibens

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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