Alexisonfire filled the History club in Toronto on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. Check out our photos from the event below!

SOCAN is mourning the loss of Cree country singer-songwriter Shane Yellowbird, who has passed away at the age of 42. The cause of death has not been released. Close friends say he had a history of health problems, including epilepsy. Originally from Maskwacis, Alberta (about 100 kilometres south of Edmonton) Yellowbird became an award-winning artist after a speech therapist suggested he start singing to help control a stutter – which led him to a career in music.

The Calgary-based Yellowbird is best known for the song “Pickup Truck,” which won him the Rising Star Award at the Canadian Country Music Awards in 2007, and “Life Is My Calling Name,” which was nominated for a JUNO Award in 2008 for Country Recording of the Year. He also won three Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards in 2007, and “Pickup Truck” was one of the 10 most played country music songs in Canada that year. In 2009, he became one of only three Indigenous artists to ever perform at the Grand Ole Opry in  Nashville, where he was overjoyed to meet and chat with his hero and fellow stutterer, country superstar Mel Tillis.

Yellowbird is fondly remembered by blues and country artist Crystal Shawanda, who met him  in 2008. Shawanda says he was a trailblazer to Indigenous country music singers, and was like a brother to her, always supporting her career. “What he accomplished is huge,” Shawanda said. “No male Indigenous country music artist has yet to do what he has done.”

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,” and added that he was a “real cowboy” who always stayed humble. “He was grateful for everything he had,” said O’Reilly.

Several Canadian country artists and fellow SOCAN members also paid tribute to Yellowbird. “He had this shy, humble demeanour, yet exuded confidence and star power the minute he got onstage,” Brett Kissel told The Edmonton Journal. “He always believed in me as an artist and songwriter, long before a lot of people. A truly beautiful soul,” wrote Aaron Goodvin on Instagram. Aaron Pritchett said, on social media, “You will be missed by so many, buddy.”

SOCAN extends our sympathy to Yellowbird’s family, friends, and fans.

In order to provide a platform for our members on the rise, we’re pleased to present the SOCAN Satellite Sessions – an ongoing series of new, exclusive member performances. This one features the powerhouse duo MIELS.

Click on the image to watch the performance

Click on the image to watch the performance

After an unanticipated encounter in the Nevada desert,Paige and J-F decided to cancel their respective flights home and hit the roads winding through the American West. Paige, straight out of the swamps of Georgia, and J-F, far from the countryside of Québec, made a second spur-of-the-moment decision to move to Montréal and start a band. Paige’s love of the French language and J-F’s longtime love affair with music gave rise to MIELS (“Honeys”). Since the big move, they’ve coalesced their two worlds by way of composition, creating a sound that resembles them both. The result is sexy, electro rock ‘n’ roll, in French. It’s a sound that makes one yearn for the road, and to forget the problems of everyday life – a sound that’s pure, hot-blooded, and electrifying from the first note to the last. After the release of their first album Prends-moi comme la mort (Take Me Like Death), the duo made their mark on the Montréal and international music scenes by playing live on Radio Canada, and on the stages of major festivals, like Coup de Coeur Franco, Festival International de la Chanson Granby, Emerging Music Festival (FME), Grosse Lanterne, Seal Off, and Taverne Tour, among others. Faithful to their nomadic way, they turned their tour van into a camper in 2020 and once again hit the road – this time in Canada. The mission was to drive coast to coast and write their second album. Mission accomplished: from Gaspésie to Vancouver Island, they composed 11 songs for their new album Lécher le ciel, which will be released in May on Coyote Records.