A close friend and fellow musician says Cree country singer Shane Yellowbird has died at the age of 42.
Blues and country artist Crystal Shawanda, who met Yellowbird in 2008, says he died earlier this week.
She says she spoke with his sister, who confirmed the Alberta singer’s death, but did not say how he died
Shawanda says Yellowbird was like a brother to her and always supported her career.
Yellowbird, best known for the song “Pickup Truck,” won the Rising Star Award at the Canadian Country Music Awards in 2007.
She says he was a trailblazer to Indigenous country music singers and was nominated for a Juno Award for country recording of the year in 2008 for “Life Is My Calling Name.”
“What he accomplished is huge,” Shawanda said Tuesday. “No male Indigenous country music artist has yet to do what he has done.”
Shawanda said Yellowbird was also a gifted artist.
“He will be remembered for what a good heart he had,” she said. “He was as good as they come.”
Shawanda said she lost touch with Yellowbird over the last few years after she switched from country music to blues.
But she said whenever they would go a while without speaking, it was as if no time had passed when they reconnected.
Louis O’Reilly, who signed Yellowbird to his record label in 2003 and worked with him until 2013, said Yellowbird was “authentic through and through.”
He said he was a “real cowboy” who always stayed humble.
“He will be remembered for his humility,” O’Reilly said of the musician from Maskwacis, Alta.
“He was grateful for everything he had.”
O’Reilly said Yellowbird was revered in Indigenous communities for his success in country music.
Others in the industry also paid tribute to Yellowbird on social media.
“He always believed in me as an artist and songwriter, long before a lot of people. A truly beautiful soul,” wrote country artist Aaron Goodvin on Instagram.
Aaron Pritchett said, “You will be missed by so many, buddy.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 26, 2022.
Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press
Judge sides with Enbridge Inc. in Michigan’s latest effort to halt Line 5 pipeline
A judge in Michigan has ruled in favour of Enbridge Inc. in the company’s long-running dispute with the state over the Line 5 cross-border pipeline.
In her ruling, Judge Janet Neff says the case belongs in federal court — a blow to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s bid to shut down the pipeline.
It’s the second time in nine months that Neff has sided with Enbridge on the question of jurisdiction.
Whitmer has been trying since November 2020 to shut down Line 5 for fear of a spill in the Straits of Mackinac, where the pipeline crosses the Great Lakes.
Proponents, including Canada’s federal government, call Line 5 a vital and indispensable source of energy for Ontario, Quebec and several Midwestern states.
Environmental activists fear an anchor strike or technical failure could trigger a catastrophe in one of the area’s most important watersheds.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 18, 2022.
Reports: Flames closing in on signing UFA forward Nazem Kadri
The Calgary Flames are closing in on a deal to sign unrestricted free agent Nazem Kadri, according to multiple media reports.
Sportsnet reported the deal is for seven years at US$7 million per season.
The Flames, according to Sportsnet and TSN, are moving forward Sean Monahan to the Montreal Canadiens to create salary cap space for Kadri’s contract. Details of that trade have not been released.
The 32-year-old Kadri was one of the biggest names available in free agency after an All-Star season with Colorado that ended with the Avalanche winning the Stanley Cup.
Kadri had 87 points (28 goals, 59 assists) in 71 games for the Avalanche in 2021-22.
He added 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 16 playoff games, including the overtime winner in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final against Tampa Bay. That was his return to action after being injured in Game 3 of the Western Conference final after being hit from behind by Edmonton forward Evander Kane.
Kadri’s signing would be the latest chapter of a chaotic off-season for the Flames.
Calgary lost leading scorer and Hart Trophy candidate Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets early in free agency, then was informed that star forward Matt Tkachuk would not sign a contract extension after the upcoming season.
The Flames dealt Tkachuk to Florida for a package that included forward Jonathan Huberdeau, who had 115 points last season, and defenceman Mackenzie Weegar.
The Flames then locked up Huberdeau long-term with an eight-year, US$84-million contract extension.
Monahan, selected sixth overall by the Flames in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, has played nine seasons in Calgary. The three-time 30-goal scorer tallied just eight goals and 15 assists for 23 points in 65 games last season.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 18, 222.
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