"We had arrived at this place that felt very strange and kind of desolate and a place that could quite possibly be the end of the line for us," Mark Wystrach tells PEOPLE

By Tricia Despres
July 21, 2021 09:45 PM
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If anyone can put into words what it feels like to stand on a stage and feel the adrenaline of thousands of fans collide into you, it just might be Midland's Mark Wystrach.

"It's like jumping out of an airplane, skydiving on drugs while winning the Super Bowl every night," Wystrach, 41, says in all seriousness during a recent interview with PEOPLE. "That's the only way I can describe it." But when that almost euphoric feeling was ripped out from under them seemingly overnight last year due to the pandemic, the three men of Midland  — Wystrach, Cam Duddy, and Jess Carson — found themselves questioning what tomorrow looked like for them.

"We had arrived at this place that felt very strange and kind of desolate and a place that could quite possibly be the end of the line for us."

The towering figure with the movie star looks and the stellar vocals lets the statement linger out in the atmosphere, silently stopping before going into any further explanation. But in reality, no explanation is needed. Midland was on the cusp of what was set to be one of their biggest years. They were going out on tour with the almighty Tim McGraw, giving the country trio and their music such as "Drinkin' Problem" and "Mr. Lonely" the biggest exposure they ever had.

But that exposure never came. And that pissed them off.

"We lost a ton of momentum, and we lost a ton of money," Wystrach remembers. "We had been working our whole lives to get to that moment."

Midland
Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach and Jass Carson of Midland
| Credit: Harper Smith

Much like the rest of their music comrades, Midland found themselves forced into a break that they desperately needed after going full tilt for so many years. And yes, it ended up becoming a break that resulted in the country trio not only surviving but coming out of it stronger than ever before.

"You're left with your memories, you're left with your perspectives, you're left with your fears, you're left with your wants and desires," he says. "But then, you're also left hopefully with your optimism. We got to be dads and husbands and sons, and we got to be friends again. So, it was a really healthy thing for us."

In fact, the Grammy-nominated trio took the kaleidoscope of feelings that were running haphazardly through their creative souls, and they turned it into some of their best music yet, forever held within their new EP The Last Resort.

"We were able to focus on simplicity again," says Wystrach, whose daughter Sunny will turn 2 in November. "We could just pick up a guitar or sit down at the piano and write for the fun of it. The Last Resort is a collection of songs that were created mostly in isolation and really far away from our norm of being on the road and performing in front of our fans."

Midland Cover Art
Midland's The Last Resort
| Credit: Courtesy of Big Machine Records

Seemingly conjuring up a place that their fans can not only hear within the album's five tracks, Midland also sonically created a place one can see and feel on The Last Resort, if they listen close enough.

"The Last Resort is a place where you can go and find yourself," explains Wystrach. "It's the place you can go and find yourself after the road you've been traveling has taken a couple of unexpected detours, if you will. I'd say it's not a place where people are on their way up, but they're kind of coming to peace with where they are."

Tinged in nostalgia and vintage sounds inspired by old school soul and uplifting gospel and country music that the legends of old would be proud of, The Last Resort has Midland showing off tighter harmonies than ever before, and certainly is a progression from their critically acclaimed Let It Roll.

"I believe you're hearing a band that has grown, that is growing, that is evolving, that is maturing," says Wystrach of the sounds on the album that shine brightly on songs such as "Sunrise Tells the Story" and "And Then Some." "You're hearing that in broader strokes in our songwriting and in the production and in the arrangements and in our vocal performances, because we have all become better singers through repetition and tons of practice and being on the road non-stop touring since we dropped the first album."

But perhaps more importantly in the long run is the personal growth of each member of this band made up of three men evolving right before our very eyes.

"It feels like we're looking a little bit more from up above, which gives on a whole lot more perspective," Wystrach concludes.