Shirley’s 45-year career in country music began at age 15 with an introduction to Ron McMunn by his steel player, Garnie Scheel. Ron was impressed by the talented young singer and, for the next nine years, Shirley frequently sang with "Ron McMunn and The Country Cousins" at Gavan’s Hotel in Quyon, recording an album with Ron on the Banff label in 1968. The daughter of Clayton and Edie (The Singing Grandmother) Thomas, Shirley was born in 1944 in Fitzroy Harbor. Doug’s equally lengthy career as a country musician developed at age 13. Prior to that time, he took step dancing lessons from Donnie Gilchrist and danced a circuit of clubs, fairs and competitions. Doug was born in Ottawa in 1943 to Robert and Hazel Sinclair.
Fate played a hand in bringing Doug and Shirley together when they became members of Ralph Carlson’s Country Mile band in 1969-70. They married in 1974 and, three years later, became the dynamic Doug & Shirley Duo. In 1978, while still entertaining as a duo, they formed their five-piece band, Hi & Dri Country. Between the duo and the group, they were two of the busiest and most popular entertainers in the Valley for many years, performing in clubs and legions, entertaining on bus tours to Nashville, organizing jamborees and playing on studio sessions. A paralyzed vocal chord cruelly cut short Shirley’s singing career with Doug but never dampened her enthusiasm for the music she loved. Doug, who also was active in the Ottawa Bluegrass Society, continued to play while Shirley managed the bookings.
In 1998, W.R.D. was formed, and four old friends embarked on a new phase of their careers. Wilf (Arsenault), Ralph (Carlson) and Doug took the stage, and Shirley operated the drum machine. When Ralph passed away in October 2002, the band continued, and they now play anywhere from 100 to 150 bookings a year, with Dan and Fred Ducharme appearing alternate weekends.
Doug’s CD, "The Valley & Me", was released in 2000 and, in 2004, Shirley released a collection of songs recorded live during the early years of their partnership, entitled "Then...And Now".
Unfortunately, Shirley passed away on Sept 20th, 2011.