Out of the darkness and into the light, Midnight Shine’s new music video for the single “Heart of Gold” (a cover of the Neil Young song of the same title) opens with the group’s frontman playing guitar and serenading us from inside a fishing boat on an undisturbed lake. With a smile on his face and a heck of a lot of luster in his lyrical execution, he lays into the verses with as much panache as Neil did some forty years ago, and we look on as the adorable faces of women and children engage in the magic of the music that is growing in size all around them.
We don’t travel very far visually in “Heart of Gold,” but instead focus mostly on the music and its implied effect on the people we see in the video. The words are in English for the first part of the song, and then our singer switches to Cree, adding a resonance to the verses that wasn’t there previously and seemingly acts to emphasize the substance of the lyrics in a way that English never could. It’s not that this version of the song is any better than the original, but rather that its central narrative seems to change when it’s conveyed by Midnight Shine. The fabric of an ancient people and an ancient land is playing a role here, and though it’s different from what I’ve heard in “Heart of Gold” before, it’s perhaps just as endearing, if not a bit more so.
The video fades out much in the style that it faded in, but as it disappears into the darkness one again, there’s a lingering harmony from the chorus that repeats in my head without fail every time I watch it or listen to the single by itself. Midnight Shine don’t change the world with their cover of this Neil Young staple, but they impress upon their listeners a facet of their artistic profile that is slightly more emotional than what most of the cover songs that I’ve listened to lately have contained.