BANGOR — Despite Bangor’s historical importance and its recent cultural and economic resurgence, there are few songs mentioning the Queen City. Roger Miller’s perennial favorite, “King of the Road,” is possibly the most well-known song to mention Bangor; aside from that, scant other examples exist.
Recently, Michael Flannery, a music producer based in New Jersey, penned a song titled “Welcome to Bangor,” drawing on his five years of living in Bangor in the late ‘00s. It’s a dark tune with an equally dark video, telling stories of Bangor’s eclectic underbelly from a place of obvious respect.
“Bangor is a very special town that I love dearly,” said Flannery, at one time half of The Flannery Brothers, a children’s music group that won a 2008 John Lennon Songwriting Award. “It will always hold a place in my heart. When I arrived there in the early aughts, downtown was just peeking tentatively at a sort of renaissance of nightlife and culture. But you can’t talk about all of that without acknowledging everything that we were trying to counterbalance. That moment wouldn’t have happened if Bangor didn’t have the void to fill.”
The lyrics describe real-life incidents Flannery experienced during his time operating a music studio in downtown Bangor. Lines like “[He] weighs about 300 pounds/Likes to tell the whole bus about how his brother disowned him” and “There’s a couple on a little car/Scootin’ up my sidewalk” describe the colorful characters he’d sometimes encounter late in the evening on Bangor’s streets.
“Each verse of the song describes a true story from my time living in Bangor,” said Flannery. “Maybe someone reading this will remember the characters or the events that I’m singing about, or maybe no one will. But my hope is that anyone who hears the song and knows Bangor will find it ultimately relatable.”
In addition to Flannery himself, the song includes Ellen Winter, George Pasles, and John Avallone (vocals), Eric Tait (drums), Simone Giuliani (electric piano), and Peter Creekmore (saxophone). The music video was directed and shot by Paul Francis Sanchez Yates utilizing footage shot by retired Bangor High School teacher Martin O’Connell.
The song and video are available to stream on YouTube.