Anne Murray returns to her Nova Scotia roots
CTV News.ca Staff
Published Tuesday, July 19, 2011 11:45AM EDT
Long before Anne Murray found fame in 1970 with her hit tune, "Snowbird," the singer from Springhill, Nova Scotia was a babysitting nuisance for her three older brothers. Whenever the dreaded task came their way, Murray's siblings tied her to a tree in a nearby field so that they could keep an eye on their little sister and still play ball.
Tidbits like these were in plentiful supply on Tuesday, as the groundbreaking recording artist took Canada AM's Jeff Hutcheson on an exclusive tour of Springhill, Nova Scotia, Murray's birthplace.
The tour took place just days before Springhill celebrates Anne Murray Day on July 23.
Along the way, Murray cracked open a lobster with gusto.
"I prefer the knuckle. I like to dig," Murray told Hutcheson as she encouraged him to overcome his aversion to the delicacy.
The 66-year-old singer surprised everyone when she stopped on Springhill's Main Street to pull weeds from a fire hydrant.
"You don't see that everyday," Hutcheson said, with a laugh.
For all her down-home ways, a visit to Springhill's Anne Murray Centre put the singer's historic musical achievements into sharp focus.
Since its opening in 1989, more than 350,000 visitors have come to see the only centre in the world that houses all of Murray's Juno and Grammy awards.
Murray has won 24 Juno Awards. No other Canadian artist has surpassed that achievement.
"I don't know of anyone who will top that," said Melanie Berry, the president and CEO of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS).
"She's sold more than 54 million albums. She was the first Canadian female solo artist to hit a U.S. number one. That paved the way for other artists like Celine Dion," said Berry.
Murray, however, was "too busy to notice" these trailblazing achievements.
"I was too swept away to think about all that," Murray told Hutcheson.
"I was so preoccupied for so many years just trying to get through my life," she said.
Singing was no extraordinary skill in Murray's eyes.
"Springhill is a very musical town," said Murray.
"When I was growing up everybody I knew could sing. I had no choice. I had to sing," she said.
That resolve helped earn Murray coveted spots in the Juno Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and The Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Murray also went on to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles and Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto.
The Anne Murray Centre documents these accomplishment and others with impressive memorabilia.
On one wall of The Gold Room, which houses Murray's awards, a framed document honours the singer for selling 3.5 million units in records and tapes in 1984. The number is astounding, even by today's music industry standards.
Murray, however, is more impressed by the Anne Murray Centre's contribution to her hometown.
"It's been great for the town and me to share with other people," said Murray.