Mike Bern Unveils His Haunting New World

The Quebec folk-rocker's moving new single was inspired by a death in the family.

Mike Bern communicates with the New World in his moving and deeply personal single — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

When a child and a parent lose each other, the lines of communication are severed tragically and forever. Or are they? Indigenous folk-rocker Bern volunteers his services as a spiritual middleman on his latest single, New World, an imagined declaration of anguish and devotion from a mother taken too soon:

“Left my daughter behind
Now I’m drowning the sky
There’s one thing I do know
I got no place to go
Carry the love into our lives
Carry her heart
Greet her with my eyes closed
I can’t hold you no more
I love you more than you know
Kind words from above.”

Bern’s raspy but gentle voice carries the otherworldly communiqué with the utmost grace, his ghostly verse lines answered by reverb-heavy guitar phrases that drip like falling tears. And all of it plays out over a slow, stately beat that feels like the inexorable forward march of fate.

The song is dedicated to Bern’s adopted daughter, whose biological mother passed away in a car crash.“There are times when my daughter says she sees her mom,” he says. “For instance, while in Montreal, she said she had seen her mom in the clouds waving to her. They both live in new worlds, but somehow, they still see each other and communicate.”

The first-person address of the lyrics reflects Bern’s deep belief that the woman he was writing about had an active hand in them: “She helped me write the song, not just for her daughter, but for her other children and ones that mourn her still.”

You’d expect no lesser level of spirituality from an artist whose roots lie deep in New Brunswick’s Tobique First Nation — situated along the Tobique and Wolastoq rivers, where the Wolastoqiyik are known as the “people of the beautiful river.” Throughout his musical journey, Bern has maintained a strong connection to his heritage and its belief in the healing power of nature. His last album, released two years ago, was titled Ancestors, and the follow 2023 single Reverberation was a paean to the sweat-lodge experience.

The musical vessel he’s chosen to convey those traditions is a unique brand of folk rock that melds his own background with the vocal stylings of southern gospel. Influences like Chris Otepka, Frankie Miller and Ben Schneider have been his guiding light as he digs deep into the purity and pain only genuine songwriting can unlock.

A self-taught guitarist since he chose to follow the example of a highly musical uncle 30 years ago, Bern made the crucial step up to creating original material thanks to a rehab counselor, who read some of his writings and declared that they had a distinctly song-like cast. Over the course of Bern’s ensuing career, he’s led the outfits Kickin’ Krotch and District Avenue, with the latter winning awards for their Revival video in 2017, and having song featured at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics a year later.

Bern’s time as a solo artist has been marked by successes like 2021’s First Mother, which reached the top spot on the Indigenous Music Countdown. As an in-demand live act, he’s opened for the likes of Seaway, The Trews, One Bad Son and The Motorleague.

Check out New World above, sample Mike Bern’s latest album Ancestors below, and join him at his website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.