I wrote this song in the voice a former Maine milltown worker who finds himself old, alone and stuck in a community fading away on the banks of a river.
I was going to film it in one of the larger cities where they used to make blankets, shoes and paper — like Lewiston, Biddeford or Millinocket. But then I remembered my own hometown (Buxton) used to have a mill where they made cheap, chipboard suitcases. My great grandfather once worked there. So, that’s where I filmed and sang this song, right in Bar Mills.
I was wrote, performed and recoded this song as part of my “Alone Beside the Road” video series.
This DIY series was inspired by a giant, wet plate collodion Ambrotype my friend Daniel Afzal shot of me and my Ural sidecar motorcycle at John Coffer’s Tintype Jamboree in the summer of 2022. It’s the picture you see at the start of the video.
Dean Clegg mastered the audio for me.
Been living here, all my life
It’s where I went to school and met my wife
Then 40 years at the mill, every single day until
They closed the doors, said there ain’t no more
Don’t know why I am still
Here in this mill town, this bottom of the hill town
Where the wind blows cold the factory’s closed
And the river runs dirty brown
I’m stuck here in this mill town
This mill town
Both my kids, well they moved away
There’s nothing left here make ‘em want to stay
Their mother died last fall, there ain’t no work at all
But I ain’t mad, I just with I had
Somewhere I could crawl
Most every day, there ain’t much to do
I go down to the store and maybe scratch a few
Drinking coffee in a paper cup, sitting in my truck
Then I walk through the door and buy two more
Guess I’ll never win enough
One of these days my time will come
I’ll to go sleep at night and never see another sun
And on that final day when they finally lay me in the clay
There’ll be no doubt about getting out
It’s here I’ll always stay