Bristol's got its own song

Local musician pens '02809', an anthem to Bristol's favorite holiday

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 7/18/20

One of the handful of musical acts featured in the 2020 version of the 4th of July parade, Andre Arsenaultappeared about halfway through, accompanied by his family. Mr. Arsenault played a song that …

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Bristol's got its own song

Local musician pens '02809', an anthem to Bristol's favorite holiday

Posted

One of the handful of musical acts featured in the 2020 version of the 4th of July parade, Andre Arsenault
appeared about halfway through, accompanied by his family. Mr. Arsenault played a song that struck some familiar chords with listeners. The song is called 02809, it's an homage to the July 4th celebration in Bristol, and it's the first song of Mr. Arsenault's creation that has reached such a wide audience.

The Mt. Hope High School graduate who studied Musical Theater at Catholic University and Music Education at Rhode Island College is no stranger to performing. Mr. Arsenault has made a second career of playing solo acoustic covers at venues across Rhode Island and Massachusetts. But with a day job as the Choral Director at Kickemuit Middle School, there was not a lot of time left over for writing his own music.

"I've been playing other people's music for about 20 years now," Mr. Arsenault said. "I've focused on building a big repertoire, so that I can play things people know and like. I have always wanted to write my own music but I haven't taken the time."

Write what you know

The kernel of the song that became 02809 began around this time last year, when Mr. Arsenault was enjoying the holiday with his family. "I was raised in Bristol, my grandparents lived on the parade route, it's our favorite time of year."
It was the pandemic that allowed Mr. Arsenault not only the time to finish 02809, but, now that restrictions are lifting locally, a fuller schedule of gigs than he has ever had. "I was playing from my basement and putting stuff up on social media and I was contacted by a Channel 12 reporter who wanted to do a story but couldn't use the licensed music I was playing — so that pushed me to finish 02809."
Coming from a musical family, the nightly concerts — at Colt School when he was young, and more recently at Independence Park — have always been among the Arsenaults' favorite July 4th events. The irony of the fact that he finished a song about these events and is performing it for the first time in a year when (almost) everything was cancelled is not lost on Arsenault. "It's interesting that this came about when we aren't doing so many of the things I wrote about," he said.

He's enjoying the response that 02809 has been receiving, and he's thankful for the opportunity to perform live that the reopening of local venues has offered. He's hoping to write more and produce an album or EP in the coming year.
The song has a decidedly country feel to it, which is not a big departure from his performances which feature a wide range of musical styles from rock to rhythm &blues. "I was never a country fan until I met my wife," Mr. Arsenault said. "Like a lot of people who grew up around here, my favorite musical genre was 'everything but country'."

"Never in a million years did I imagine I'd write country music," said Mr. Arsenault. But solo acoustic music lends itself well to it."

Locally, you can see Mr. Arsenault perform at Portside Tavern in Bristol on Tuesdays from 9 p.m. to midnight (as well as about one Saturday a month); Locals Tavern in Portsmouth on Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m.; Thriving Tree Coffee House in Portsmouth on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Blount's Clam Shack in Warren on Sundays from 3 to 8 p.m.
For more information — and to see him perform 02809 — visit Mr. Arsenault's Facebook page at Andre Arsenault Solo Acoustic.

02809

Well I’ve walked about a thousand miles on the street that we call “Hope”
And this time of year you’ll see more stars without a telescope
And those red white and blue stripes, they ain’t painted there by mistake
The most patriotic town in the whole damn land

People makin’ plans for the holiday it’s the best time of the year
It’s a big deal man but you may not understand if you’re not from around here 
so Raise up the flag and raise up your glass to the US of A
pile up in the car crank it up and let’s head downtown

Where the bands are playin Independence Park bringing music to the salty air                      
We got fireworks burnin’ every night of the week and there’s people everywhere
It’s the quiet little town that just woke up and you can bet that it’s a good time
Cause It’s the Fourth of July in 02809

You can head on down to my place the parties out back
The beer is chilling littlenecks are grillin’ and laughter’s in the soundtrack
Pull up a chair or take a dip in the pool we ain’t stoppin’ anytime soon
The sunsets and we’re left to light of that big summer moon

Then we’ll Pass around that old guitar and we’ll sing along all night
Yeah the fire pit’s glowing up, old friend’s showing up feeling alright
We’ll throw on another log and then we’ll pour another drink and we’ll dance the night away
Til it’s over but tomorrow we’ll do it all over again

Yeah the bands are playin Independence Park bringing music to the salty air
We got fireworks burnin every night of the week and there’s people everywhere
It’s the quiet little town that just woke up and you can bet that it’s a good time
Because It’s the Fourth of July in 02809

Now the flags are lining Hope Street. We’ve got families on front porches
The kids are swinging sparklers and we’re lighting tiki torches.

And those bands are playin Independence Park bringing music to the salty air
We got fireworks burnin every night of the week and there’s people everywhere
It’s the quiet little town that just woke up and you can bet that it’s a good time
Cause It’s the Fourth of July in 02809

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