The story involves a Chatham, Ontario girl raised on English literature, Childe ballads, and Detroit rhythm and blues. The story takes up River Road, and out of Chatham..... past the dying embers of the Chinese restaurant, out through the bar rooms and truck stops to the pot-of-gold cities like Toronto and New York. The young girl's dreams were realized, written down, sung and recorded. Short story masterpieces, all of them; and the beautiful Chatham girl became one of our most important singer-songwriters.
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Briefly: Sylvia's first commercial recordings were part of the 13-album history of Ian & Sylvia, the landmark folk and country duo who began in the early 60's. The story goes that Bob Dylan played them "Blowin' In The Wind" at the Kettle of Fish in New York, and they were inspired to try their hand at songwriting. Ian's first song was "Four Strong Winds", and Sylvia's was "You Were On My Mind", which subsequently became a hit for the folk-pop group We Five, and also for Crispian St. Peter in England.
As Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Gordon Lightfoot, Ann Murray, Peter Paul And Mary, and Judy Collins all attested on the "Ian & Sylvia Reunion" television special (co-produced by Sylvia), that Ian & Sylvia's music influenced two decades of writer/performers. "Magic" was the word often used to describe their sound, and the albums - stocked with timeless material - stand their ground today.
One of those albums, "The Great Speckled Bird", is a cornerstone of country rock music. The album was produced by Todd Rundgren and featured Amos Garret on guitar, Buddy Cage on steel guitar (later with the New Riders Of The Purple Sage, and Neil Young), and N.D. Smart on drums (Mountain, Gram Parsons).
Along with the early work of Gram Parsons and Steve Young, this album helped to lay the foundation for what would become country rock, progressive country, and finally new country. Sealed copies have sold for as much as $200.
Ian & Sylvia parted ways in the mid-70's, and Sylvia established an impressive solo career, hosting the award-winning CBC Network radio show, Touch The Earth, and a national CBC Television show, Country In My Soul. She has released seven solo albums, the most recent being "Gypsy Cadillac", released by Sony in Canada, and by Round Tower Music in Europe. She continues to have great success with her songwriting.
In 1992, Sylvia was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame on the nationally televised Juno Awards.
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