The Girl from Paspébiac


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. 

Click here to download the song (MP3 file)

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Recording Notes

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.