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Mike Bern’s new single is inspired by his daughter’s connection with her deceased mom

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When a child and a parent lose each other, the lines of communication are severed tragically and forever. Or are they?

Indigenous folk-rocker Mike Bern volunteers his services as a spiritual middleman on his latest single, “New World,” an imagined declaration of anguish and devotion from a mother who was taken too soon.

Mike’s raspy but gentle voice carries the otherworldly communiqué with the utmost grace, his ghostly verses answered by reverb-heavy guitar phrases. 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 Mike’s adopted daughter, whose biological mother passed away in a car crash.

“There are times when my daughter says she sees her mom,” he said.

“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 Mike’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,” he said.

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 people are known as the “people of the beautiful river.”

Throughout his musical journey, Mike 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 even titled Ancestors, and the single he followed it up with in 2023, “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 North Star 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, Mike 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 Mike’s ensuing career, he’s led the outfits Kickin’ Krotch and District Avenue, the latter of whom won two awards for their “Revival” music video in 2017 and went on to hear the song featured at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics a year later.

Mike’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 Seaway, The Trews, One Bad Son and The Motorleague.

In the year ahead, he’ll be deepening his commitment to heartfelt originals like “New World” while dropping the occasional cover on his socials. But whatever he puts his mind and voice to, be prepared to be haunted—in all the right ways.

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