Midland has rewritten what post-Urban Cowboy country can be since arriving with 2017’s Platinum-certified, double Grammy® nominated “Drinkin’ Problem.” The progressive trio of Mark Wystrach, Cameron Duddy and Jess Carson have sought to merge cultural influences, far-flung pieces of 20th century Country music and a cool that defies most Nashville touchpoints.
Whether Bakersfield or Billy Bob’s, the Palomino or Grand Ole Opry, there’s a liveliness that draws lovers of classic country, hipsters, fashionistas and critics to their hybrid sense of what the genre can contain. For The Last Resort EP, the threesome sought to broaden their reach – musically, visually and now via the new video for “Sunrise Tells The Story.”
“We’ve always loved pop culture,” says bassist/harmony singer Cameron Duddy, “and the way it threads through how people live. Done properly, it becomes what people reference in their lives… and when we were trying to think of how to represent this song, we wanted something more than just the obvious reference to a guy and a girl getting together.”
“And,” adds guitarist/vocalist Jess Carson, “we wanted to show people our own dynamic, too. How do you show our friendship in a way that’s not just a bunch of guys on the road?”
“Sunrise Tells The Story” riffs on the Officer & A Gentleman notion of the class structures, formalities, and realities of military life. But rather than the heroine being a local girl, the young woman is the chief officer’s daughter – and the location is his retirement party. Equal parts buddy movie, burgeoning romance and a bit of the morning after, “Sunrise” is a classic spin on themes, euphoria and the way a great country song lifts everything around it.
Directed by Duddy, who’s directed Bruno Mars/Mark Ronson’s MTV Video of the Year “Uptown Funk” and Mars’ BET Video of the Year “24K Magic,” the clip captures the trio’s wry humor – including a bit on the pronunciation of Wystrach’s name — as well as the confession the singer has developed real feelings for “Janie,” the commander’s daughter. Between steamy scenes that suggest real chemistry and the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis physical comedy, “Sunrise” merges cinema oeuvres and Midland’s signature notes of erotic desire and good times.
Wystrach, who serves as the clip’s sex symbol, recognizes the tension between storylines.
“No one story really serves what’s going on here,” says Wystrach. “If you’ve been around us, we’re always pranking each other, because that’s who we are. But this song is something completely else. How do you show that? That’s where the three of us being us comes in, so it’s not so serious or so much a sexy video.”
“Cam wanted to raise the stakes, and what is more serious or important than our military?” adds Wystrach. “My father is a decorated veteran, and I know how protective those men are of their daughters! There couldn’t be a worse choice of a girl to fall in love with, but the heart wants what it wants. Plus, if there’s anyone who’s going to be a little fast and loose at a party, no matter where, it’s us…”
Equal parts Texas beer joint, Bakersfield-to-Laurel Canyon California country and slightly Faron Young style classicism, it explains taking their name from a Dwight Yoakam song. An almost thinking man’s country, they’ve been profiled in Esquire, The Washington Post’s Sunday Magazine, GQ, Los Angeles Times and Vogue. The Austin American Statesmanhas praised the trio for “reaching high above honky tonk bounds” and The New York Timescited “their retro country elegance.”
Debuting today, the “Sunrise Tells The Story” video offers a completely different spin on a song that unfurls the attraction, passion and ways people find each other in complicated and not-so-complicated times. Just watch – or listen.