Craig Bakay | Mar 28, 2018
Last Saturday, Max and Elaine Squires just happened to be driving by the Sharbot Lake Country Inn and saw the sign advertising a Newfoundland Kitchen Party. Now the Squires live in Gananoque these days but they’re originally from Portugal Cove-St. Philips, which is not too far from St. John’s.
“We just got in the car for a drive and we came across this,” said Max, after Turpin’s Trail had just finished its first set. “Now that’s a good down-east band right there.
“This is the kind of music that brings you back home.
“Best time we’ve had in awhile.”
Elaine nodded in agreement.
Now, in part, The Crossing Pub is named for Stephenville Crossing in Newfoundland (the other part is a reference to Sharbot Lake’s history as a railroad town). Even though they’ve lived here long enough to be established as locals, the proprietors, Frank and Sandra White, have Newfoundland roots and it was time to show them a bit. On this particular Saturday, that included a Jiggs dinner and a healthy serving of jigs and reels.
“It (Jiggs dinner) starts off with salt beef,” said Frank, the chef for the occasion. “Back in the days before freezers, much of the meat had to be pickled to preserve it.
“It was then boiled along with carrots, turnips, potatoes and cabbage and was usually served one day a week, often as Sunday dinner.”
And there’s just about always music after the dinner and that put a little extra pressure on the band — not too much, but a little.
“The fact that none of us is actually from Newfoundland, yeah that’s a little added pressure,” said multi-instrumentalist Chris Murphy of Turpin’s Trail. “Normally, we’d do a lot more of our own stuff.
“But there’s such a rich musical tradition from the Maritimes in general and Newfoundland in particular that yes, there’s pressure but there’s a lot of comfort too.”
Besides, it’s not like this was the band’s first Newfoundland Kitchen Party.
“It’s not even our first today,” said Murphy, laughing. “Noah (bass player St. Armand) and I had to fill in last minute at The Cove in Westport earlier today.”
Sandra White said they’ll probably do more theme nights in the future.
“We love these things,” she said. “A night like tonight makes the whole purchase (of the Inn) worthwhile.”