On the Old St. Croix
My grandfather's family moved from Sweden to Iowa, back to Sweden, and then to St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, which is on the US/Canada border on the St. Croix River across from Calais, Maine. My great uncle, Axel Lorentson, lived there most of his life, and became a painter in later life. I am one of his closest living relatives and I have his journal from the mid-1900's which details a lot of his life and family history.
I also found in it a number of songs that he collected, as well as the lyrics to the following song, which were on a newspaper clipping from a John Mitchell of Haverhill, Massachusetts. I have searched with Canadian archives and folk singers, and haven't been able to find it as a song, so I took the liberty to set the poem to music (with some textual editing).
I'll be visiting St. Stephen on October 1st for an exhibition of Axel's paintings, as well as giving a presentation of his life. I'm planning on playing this song for the assembled audience.
#acoustic_one_take #guy_with_ukulele #ukulele #canada #newbrunswick #river #singer_songwriter
[C] Down there in New Brunswick
There's a [F] town I [G7] used to [C] know
[Am] By the St. Croix River,
I was [F] born there [G7] long a[C]go.
The [Am] years have brought some [C] changes
Old [Dm] friends have [Em7] passed [Am] away
I [C] doubt that I know many
In the [F] old home [G7] town to[C]day
The [Am] time-worn wooden [C] sidewalks
Drove [F] splinters [Em7] in my [Am] feet
Have [F] passed with those old [C] lamp posts
And the [Dm] walks are now con[Em7]crete
The [F] sawmills on the [C] river
Where the [G] gang saws used to [Am] whine
Are [F] now but a back [Em7] memory
They’ve [D] long outlived their [G7] time
Those [Am] quaint old wooden [C] bridges
They’d col[F]lect a [Em7] two cent [Am] toll
Have [F] gone with all the [C] others
And [Dm] joined the silent [Em7] roll.
The [F] ships that sailed the [C] river
When [G] I was a young [Am] boy;
Have [F] all heaved up their [Em7] anchors
Are [D] gone from the St. [G7] Croix.
It [Am] does no good to [C] worry
Over [F] things that [Em7] come to [Am] pass
For the [F] moon’s still [C] shining
And there's [Dm] still hay and [Em7] grass.
Some [F] landmarks still are [C] standing
That [G] I saw as a [Am] boy,
Per[F]haps the Lord re[Em7]members
Those [D] folks on the old St. [G7] Croix.
I [Dm] really have no grievance
[Am] No one is to blame.
My [G] name was never written
In St. [C] Stephen’s Hall of Fame.
The [F] old town may be [Bb] humble
But no [G] matter where I [C] roam.
In my [D] heart’s a lingering [Em7] love
For the [Am] place I [D7] once called [G7] home.