Singer Susan Holden and guitarist Sean Rose have been performing separately around Whistler for years, occasionally combining their talents on stage, though never in an official capacity.
It wasn't until Holden showed up at Rose's door with a country-blues song she had written called "The Devil Himself" that their duo, Poor Dirty Sylvia, began to take shape. Now, with several songs and a handful of shows under their belt, the pair are playing a residency every Thursday in May at the Crystal Lounge to test out material before they head into the studio to work on their debut EP.
Pique caught up with them to chat about their nascent project, country music and Whistler's music scene.
Pique: So you guys are working on releasing a four-song EP?
Susan Holden: That's our short-term goal and then we have some new stuff we will be playing at the Crystal over this coming month. It's going to take shape more by the end of the month.
Sean Rose: Which is part of the fun of doing the Crystal because it's going to be part of the process. We'll be playing and getting feedback from our friends and, who knows, possibly bringing up guest musicians on stage with us during that time. We'll be figuring out what we're going to do with the songs while we're doing them live almost.
Pique: How many original tracks do you have in total? I assume you'll be supplementing with some cover songs?
SH: The show will be split in three parts. There will be 10 original pieces that we'll do. A couple of them are songs a friend of mine wrote so we're trying to get her music out too. A couple are songs I recorded years ago just on my own then a few new ones then the four that are really solid. We're nitpicking on those before we go into the studio.
SR: As time goes on we'll have more originals than covers, but it's just like when I do my blues thing or when I go to see a blues show with any of the big names I want to hear their version of a Muddy Waters song as well. My introduction to playing country was with this guy Luke, he introduced me to some pretty badass country stuff — this one song in particular by Hank Williams, which is a mix of blues and country. To hear that and explain that to people, 'This is our roots, this is where we're coming from, this is our take on the classics.' I always want to throw in a few of those.
Pique: Where did the name come from?
SH: It's the name of the '69 Telecaster that Sean plays.
SR: That's her guitar.
SH: He knows how to play it.