Cory Sulyma, one-half of local folk duo Two Crows For Comfort, shies away from categorizing the band’s music.
“I just like to write stories – some true, some not true. Some are a little of both,” he says. “So however it ends up coming out, whether it be an upbeat, happy folk song or a sad, melancholy tune about someone who died, we hope it can be relatable for most people.”
The “two crows” of Two Crows is Sulyma and his partner, musical and otherwise, Erin Corbin.
Sulyma’s creative pursuits can be traced back to a childhood love of drawing.
“As I got older, I really enjoyed writing stories and essays and that seems to have carried over into songwriting,” he reflects. “When I asked Erin what her creative background was, she said, ‘Me? I don’t have one, I just sing.’”
While Sulyma does most of the initial songwriting, he stresses that Two Crows is a collaboration between him and Corbin.
“I bring the ideas to Erin, and she helps to solidify everything else: structure, lyrics, vocal arrangements, harmonies, etc.” he explains. “She really is the vocal expert.”
The pair is regularly joined on stage by their friends and fellow musicians, Ben Mak-Wiebe and Lachlan McLean, who offer their creative advice and contribute to the group’s song arrangements as well.
Beyond these active collaborators, Sulyma cites Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan as influential to the group’s music, although he insists, “our artistic influences, like most musicians’ I’m sure, are vast.”
“(Corbin and I are) both fairly avid readers, which I think has an influence on our writing and our ability to create a song,” he says. “I’m a bit of a Stephen King junkie, so you may catch the odd reference or two in our songs.”
Besides keeping busy reading and songwriting, Corbin and Sulyma both maintain regular day jobs.
“At night and on the weekends, we come out of our shells to be Two Crows,” Sulyma explains. “We’re fairly introverted, anxious folks, so people who truly know us are often surprised to hear we’re actually comfortable enough to go on stage in front of a crowd.”
Although the group is only a year old, they’ve participated in the Winnipeg Folk Festival’s Stingray Young Performers
Program, and they played at the first annual Winnipeg Tattoo Convention last year.
“Those (shows) were both a blast,” Sulyma says.
Two Crows will take the stage again on Feb. 15 for The Uniter Fiver showcase. They are also working toward the completion of their first full-length album, which is forthcoming in mid-2018.
“If any Uniter readers are ever at one of our shows, please, please laugh at our jokes,” Sulyma urges. “They’re often extremely dry and sarcastic, and I’m the only one who finds them funny, but we pride ourselves on those.”
“Oh yeah, and the music,” he adds. “We hope you like the music, too!”
Published in Volume 72, Number 18 of The Uniter (February 15, 2018)