Skip to main content

Syl Vee

Blues Voyage….or, Getting to Know Syl Vee and her Guitar

| Sande Caplin |

Syl Vee was born in Detroit, but lived for a good long while in Canada, till 1982.  She grew up in a musical household.  In fact, her mother had won a scholarship to La Scala, so she heard a lot of classical opera and jazz, which was her father’s genre.  When I asked her what age she was when she began playing an instrument, she said she played piano on her grandmother’s knee at the age of 3. Syl got an early start on what turned out to be an exciting journey, both geographically and musically.

Syl’s childhood desire was to be a composer.  When she was 12 years old she broke her leg and was laid up for quite awhile.  She had a friend who played the guitar and had just gotten a new one.  It was her friend’s idea to leave Syl the old guitar for her convalescence and she began her interest and love of playing.  In fact, she started lessons at 13 and played classical guitar for 4 years.  Syl Vee wrote her own songs and music as she was coming up, and at 15 discovered the Blues.  One of the first artists she heard, in addition to Janis Joplin and John Mayall, was Long John Baldry, whose song “Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie on the King of Rock ‘n Roll” was a hit in Canada.  She began to do some research, and some falling in love.

She has two children, a boy and a girl whose ages are 25 and 27.  Vowing to escape the cold for good, Syl and family moved to Bradenton in 1989.  After some major life changes and issues and she is now definitely a survivor with joy and gratitude.

When I watch Syl play, she is just so adaptable, so smooth and so experienced that she can pretty much play with anyone and fit right in.  Her personality seems shy at first, but Syl Vee has plenty to say and does so when she’s playing that well-worn ’67 Telecaster of hers.  It was special audience members back in ‘the wild west’ that had insisted she begin playing slide…

I’d love to see and hear more of Syl Vee, and we really appreciate the time she’s donated to our different Ladies Sing the Blues events.  Oh yeah, AND DON’T TRY TO LAY NO BOOGIE WOOGIE ON HER, EITHER!

Skip to content