Terry Swett, above, and his 5-member band, Milltown Roadhouse, are regulars at local watering spots in Westbrook and Harrison, as well as at fairs and events across the state. Contributed / Terry Swett

Bridgton singer-songwriter Terry Swett’s melodic ode to his home state, “My Sweet Maine,” will become the official state “Song of the 21st Century.”

Swett wrote the tribute in celebration of the Pine Tree State’s Bicentennial in 2020.

The state Senate and House this week voted to back the bill.

The 64-year-old grew up in North Norway and said that although he traveled around the country a lot as a young adult, he always came back to Maine.

“Growing up in rural Maine, I couldn’t wait to get out of here,” he said. “I put about 20,000 miles on my thumb” hitchhiking or driving “whatever car I could afford at the time,” in the late-1970s.

“I always loved that small town feeling, and so Maine, the older I got, the more it meant to me. Each time I came back, (there was) more a part of my roots that I could feel.”

My sweet Maine

You kinda made me who I am

And if I wind up gone tomorrow

I’m gonna come back home again

My sweet Maine

I know January’s cold

But I was born on the edge of summertime

And it’s where I’m growin’ old

My sweet Maine

The folksy song “seemed to kind of write itself,” Swett said.

He debuted it at a Lewiston Auburn Chamber breakfast last March, just one day before Maine recorded its first case of COVID-19.

When the pandemic hit, he wasn’t sure if and how to go about sharing his song.

In prepandemic times, Swett and his band, Milltown Roadshow, were regulars at local spots such as Lenny’s Pub in Westbrook and Olde Mill Tavern in Harrison. Two of his bandmates, Diane “DJ” Maddix and Jack D. Jolie, appear on “My Sweet Maine” accompanying Swett’s lead vocals and guitar.

“I kept thinking: Wait. I’ll just wait on this (until) the time is right,” Swett said. “I kept saying why give people a false sense of hope? But finally, after it just didn’t seem like it was going to go away, I decided, well, maybe there’s no better time than now to have some hope.”

He worked with Bar Harbor video producer Jeff Dobbs to record a music video featuring soaring aerial views of classic Maine sights, from the rocky shores of Acadia National Park to downtown Lewiston and mist-laden mountain towns.

Where the pines hold up the northern sky

It’s the home of the chickadee

And the rocky coast, old and strong

Is holdin’ back the sea

His tune caught the interest of Reps. Walter Riseman, I-Harrison, and John Andrews, L-Paris, who co-sponsored the bill, “An Act to Recognize ‘My Sweet Maine’ as Maine’s Song of the 21st Century,” which was voted on by the House Tuesday.

Swett said he, Riseman and Andrews dubbed it the “Song of the 21st Century” so as to not “step on the toes” of Roger Vinton Snow’s “State of Maine,” which was written and adopted as the state song in 1937.

“It’s a song that really captures everything good about Maine written by one of her own,” Andrews wrote in an email. “There’s been a real groundswell of support for the song and the bill.”

It’s springtime on the Allagash

When fishin’ comes to call

With summers on Sebago

And Fryeburg in the fall

Andrews and Swett both said got a call from Maine U.S. Sen. Angus King sharing his support as a citizen for the bill.

“It’s been a great experience for a positive song that can really unite people as we emerge from this pandemic,” Andrews said.

Lighthouses bring the sailors home

From out on Casco Bay

And from Portland up to Bangor

You can drive right through L-A

Swett and his wife, Sandy, have lived in North Bridgton for 25 years now and “raised a bunch of kids here,” he said. He owns Swett Signs in town and his wife is the director of the Harrison Food Bank, where he also lends a hand.

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