Pop-Rockers SuperTonic Are “Wide Awake” Featuring Big Sugar’s Gordie Johnson

by Eric Alper

Like ebbing waves ready to get lost in, Indie pop-rockers SuperTonic roll out their latest single in “Wide Awake,” the latest to arrive from their recent LP, Time to Repair.

Featuring Big Sugar’s Gordie Johnson, “Wide Awake” is an ethereal, indie-rock uprising that mellows out the listener while enticing them to stay and enjoy.

The complementing video for the song features SuperTonic co-fronts Jay Stiles and David Pulkingham in a room of candles as their combined vox soothes and calms over the melodies; the listener is dared to identify with the lyrics, the opening nearly melancholic, as it fades into beautiful optimism.

First forming SuperTonic during the preliminary onset of the pandemic in March of 2020, Stiles and Pulkingham wrote and recorded the 10-song-strong LP Time to Repair in the Spring of that year.

Soon, they fleshed out the group with Alan Eckert (drums), Gordie Johnson (bass, vocals), and Frank Deresti (bass); Johnson would go on to mix the album, while Howie Wienberg in Los Angeles mastered.

Based between Austin and Collingwood, ON, Jay Stiles has made himself known as the leading go-to for his impressive talents and musicianship. Having worked with Austin mainstays like Black Pumas and Shinyribs, plus Ontario songwriting giants Big Sugar and Pat Robitaille, Stiles specializes in vintage keyboards, including Hammond organ, Wurlitzer electric piano, clavinet, and Rhodes.

David Pulkingham is a Texas-native and music community heavy-weight, having spent 25 years as a guitarist, singer/songwriter, producer, and teacher in Austin. With two instrumental albums to his credit, he currently tours with Patty Griffin and has played with her for the past 8 years. He co-wrote two songs on her recent Grammy winning eponymous album. In addition to his extensive touring work with Alejandro Escovedo, Carrie Rodriguez, and Sara Watkins, David has performed with both the Lampedusa and Lantern tours to benefit refugee services. On these performances he served as an accompanist for the likes of Robert Plant, EmmyLou Harris, Steve Earle, Joan Baez, Jackson Browne, Buddy Miller, Lucinda Williams, and Lila Downs.

Canadian radio personality Jeff Woods recently shared of SuperTonic and the release, noting “If there’s any solace to be found in isolation, it’s best spent in the company of music. And if one can be judged by the company they keep, this is an album that makes good friends.

“And so you’re invited to listen,” he continued. “And you’ll want to listen again. And when we’re all back to being social butterflies and out of the house and perhaps wide awake under the lavender moon, there’s a good chance when we slow down and spend the time once more, within the depth and richness of this new album, we’ll be glad we did.”

And therein lies the charm that is Time to Repair and its heady array of offerings. Where SuperTonic shine is their ability to push forward, then hold restraint — their eloquent musicianship taking the reign on the track. The delicate guitar flows neatly alongside the organ, the percussion rushing like an ocean tide — gently rocking the song in transcendent waves.

It’s easy to get lost in the tide of “Wide Awake”… And when you breach the shore, you find yourself diving back in all over again.

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