An ode to the Gaspé coast and the people from it, but more importantly this song is the ballad of my grandmother Sybil Palmer.
Written over the year of 2013 in time for Nanny’s 90th birthday party, I had compiled research chronicling the life of Sybil which included growing up in New Carlisle. With every song, I try and emulate other songs and this one was my attempt at making a tune you would hear down in the Maritimes. I was inspired to add some fiddle and accordion in there after a visit to a kitchen party down in Prince Edward Island in 2015. Troy also added the bouzouki solo which is stuck in my head for all time which is the mark of a great solo.
Recorded primarily in the Red Room (aka Troy’s studio), we even managed to get some backing vocals from Troy’s mother in there! This was my first foray into adding elements such as piano into a song, as well as mixing and mastering.
Of course, people will ask why this song is called The Girl from Paspébiac when she is clearly not from that town. A funny story came by the way of Mom and Dad where they recounted the tale of Uncle Halley never passing up a chance to mention that Sybil was from Paspébiac. She was most certainly NOT from that town and she made sure he knew it each time he told her!
Special thanks to my partner on musical journeys – Troy Palmer.
When you click on the link to listen to it, you can also download it by clicking on the arrow icon in the top right hand corner.
Lyrics, acoustic guitar, piano: Ryan Palmer
Bass, bouzouki, drums: Troy Palmer
Backing vocals: Troy and Ryan Palmer, Pauline Hilborn, Véronique Cantin
From a family of thirteen, I like looking back
To a time that I grew up, near Paspébiac
New Carlisle, is my home, it’s deep in my heart
I’ll never forget, where I got my start
Grew up on the coast line, I can boast
There’s no better place than the ole Gaspé coast
As I get a little older, you best not forget
I had a good life, and it ain’t over yet
Moved down to Gaspé, to get myself paid
At Robin’s department store, where they needed aid
Day in, day out, I pulled the cord, money over their head
Wonder if that money would drop and knock someone dead
Looking forward to Friday night’s dance
Hoping I would find some sweet romance
Met a man, walked me home, I’m glad he came back
The very next day after I gave him some flak
Married in September, moved to Sunnybank
The Lord above, this girl knows, who she had to thank
Had a family, what a great time
I thank the Lord they turned out very fine
Later on, we realized it was time to go
We packed it up and moved on down, that old mine road
To Murdochville where the snow runs deep and the beer costs a dime
Big parties with friends and neighbours was always a great time
It was scary when the men went on strike
But we stood together: kids, husband and wife
Some of us had to say goodbye
Family’s good for a shoulder to cry
“Don’t worry, we’ll make it through…I’ll always remember me and you…”
Moved out west to Ontario, where the winter’s aren’t so rough
On those streets I learned to be made of tougher stuff
I walk so fast, there ain’t no time to smell any old flowers
The radar trap caught me walking seventeen miles an hour
If there’s one thing that puts a smile on my face
I can out walk any of you in this place
I’m older now but I’ll tell you what I like seeing most
Are family and friends from the ole Gaspé coast
My family’s grown bigger but I like looking back
Just don’t call me the girl from Paspébiac.