In 1975, this suburban hippy boy got in a truck and moved to Bear River, Nova Scotia as part of a back-to-land commune called Dogsnest Farm. Jesse's mother, Ramona LeBlanc, was from Pictou County and introduced me to down-east culture, including the Boxing Day kitchen party. When we all eventually moved back to Ontario, our daughter Teri carried it on at her home near Peterborough. Ashley Condon, my PEI-raised, Canadian Folk Music Award-nominated niece was living with us six years ago when we decided to continue the tradition here in Guelph.
That's how the Turton-Lewis Boxing Day Singalong & Jam started. We moved out the furniture, prepared the best homemade food, layed out the instruments, spread out the chairs, and invited all and sundry to eat, drink, sing, jam, and be merry through afternoon 'til midnight.
It would start with an easy-going afternoon jam and turn into a mini-Woodstock by about 7:00 pm, when the dining room, living room, hallway and every step of the stairs was shoulder-to-shoulder belting out all our favourite songs. When the house was shaking from the massive harmonies it was like nothing I'd ever felt before. That was what inspired Ashley and I to start our Singalong events with our now-famous songbooks. Something this good could not be kept to ourselves!
It was also this Boxing Day wing-ding that inspired me to record AT HOME. Last night it was a special thrill to sing some of those songs right here where we recorded them—with the whole houseful that inspired the music in the first place! Many thanks to everyone who came and made it the special day that it always is.