North·Audio

Musicians of the Midnight Sun: Archie Loutit

In Episode 8 of Musicians of the Midnight Sun, Pat Braden speaks to the late Archie Loutit, whose band Northbound Freeway played the music halls of Yellowknife.

Loutit began his musical career at the age of 12

Archie Loutit, left, fronted the rock band Northbound Freeway which played the music halls and speakeasies of Yellowknife. Beside him from left to right is Frenchy Cyrenne, Roger Regier, Gary Duherst. (Submitted by Pat Braden)

Musicians of the Midnight Sun is a new 10-part CBC radio series produced by northern musical icon Pat Braden. Braden has spent 15 years collecting interviews, photographs, and recordings from some of the North's most celebrated artists, which he is releasing in an online archive.

A new episode of the 10-part series will debut on CBC Radio One's The Trailbreaker every Tuesday morning at 7:40 MT.

Listen to Episode 7 of Musicians of the Midnight Sun:

In Episode 8 of Musicians of the Midnight Sun, Pat Braden speaks with the late Archie Loutit, the "voice of the golden North" and founder of Northbound Freeway. 6:59

Archie Loutit was 12 years old when he got his first guitar.

He was so young, he wasn't even allowed to hang out with the band at the Yellowknife Royal Canadian Legion branch where he played between sets.

"So every time they finished a set, I'd have to go into the kitchen and sit there for a while," said Loutit.

Archie Loutit, right, says he learned rock 'n' roll by copying Elvis Presley. 'He was the big thing,' says Loutit. (Submitted by Pat Braden)

Loutit is the eighth musician profiled by the new CBC radio series Musicians of the Midnight Sun.

Loutit died on Sept. 3, 2018, but before he passed away, he shared his memories with series producer Pat Braden.

Loutit grew up with music in his family. His aunt played the fiddle alongside former Yellowknife mayor Fred Henne at the Legion.

A young Archie Loutit plays a show at the Elks Lodge in Yellowknife in March 1959. (NWT Archives / Henry Busse / N-1979-052-7574)

He's known as the founder of the band Northbound Freeway, which played the music halls and speakeasies of Yellowknife. He also hosted a variety show on CFYK.

Always humble, Loutit said he learned how to play rock 'n' roll by imitating Elvis.

"After a while, I advanced from two chords to three," he said.

Archie Loutit, back row left, plays at a beach party in Yellowknife. (NWT Archives / Henry Busse / N-1979-052-5158)

You can listen to Braden's full interview with Loutit and see photos from then and now on the project's website.