A brand new recording studio in Maskwacis has been named in honour of late country music artist Shane Yellowbird.
A grand opening was held in early October for the Shane Yellowbird Music Recording Studio, which was developed by his cousin Kacey Currie-Yellowbird, who is also the manager of Samson Youth and Sports Development.
The studio is located in the Howard Buffalo Memorial Centre in Samson Cree Nation.
“We started the transition of changing this area into a music studio back in about January,” said Currie-Yellowbird, adding that the vision is to open doors for local youth to explore a stream of creative ventures, and in so doing encourage a more positive direction overall.
“There is so much to it,” he noted of the intricacies of creating a recording studio through extensive renovations to the rooms at the site.
“We also brought in many partners to help alleviate some of those costs,” he said, adding local carpenters also pitched in to help with the project.
“It was good because they had some experience in putting together a project like this.”
Working with Currie-Yellowbird has been Jim Johnson, who will be helping to run studio operations, and sound engineer Liam Buffalo.
“The idea was originally going to be an outlet for music, and then the conversation also was geared to have a setting for podcasts which would allow the youth and the community to express themselves through another mode as well,” explained Johnson, who is a coordinator for Samson Youth and Sports Development.
“I think it will definitely broaden the number of kids and community members that we can ultimately reach in the long run,” he said.
“We are so close to having everything fully set up, and once that gets rolling there are a lot of people in the community who are excited to participate.
“There are a lot of creative people in our community who want to come and be involved, whether that be learning the technical part of it or by being involved in other kinds of communications. We are excited for the growth of it, and to see where it goes,” said Johnson.
“It’s also definitely been a learning process,” he said, adding that he’s looking forward to learning aspects of producing a range of material.
He said a local drumming group recently dropped in so they could see how the facility was working out, and the results were outstanding.
”They were really impressed,” he said, adding that many in the community don’t yet know the potential of the facility.
“It’s also an avenue for our youth to be able to speak about issues that are affecting them today.”
Yellowbird, who grew up in Maskwacis and passed away in April of 2022, burst onto the Canadian country music scene in 2006 with his debut Juno-nominated release Life Is Calling My Name.
The project garnered four top-10 singles and a bevy of awards including ‘Rising Star of the Year’ at the 2007 Canadian Country Music Association Awards.
In late 2009, he released It’s About Time, which also included the top 10 hit Bare Feet On The Blacktop.
That’s the tune he was honoured to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in late 2009.
Meanwhile, Currie-Yellowbird said excitement continues to build as word spreads about the studio which in turn is such a fitting tribute to a man who was so passionate about making music.