Bob McKillop

Bob McKillop


Accessible, well-crafted original songs of classic singer/songwriter introspection with a redemptive and humorous twist!


Bob McKillop

Bob McKillop grafts the humor and good nature of Roger Miller onto the sincerity and spirituality of John Denver; he nurtures the resulting musical seedlings with a little Maybelle Carter, Johnny Cash, and Carole King, and then lets them grow into the catalog of acoustic folk and traditional country songs that he’s been working on over the past fifteen years.

Bob writes well-structured lyrics with memorable hooks, layered on melodies that get under your skin; songs about the places we live in, the people we love, and the secrets we struggle with in becoming who we really are. Some songs are funny; others are poignant, a few are dark – but they usually have some type of redemptive or humorous twist that surprises his audience.

Bob began playing his tunes at open mics in Massachusetts in the late 1990’s. After moving to Portland, Maine in late 2003, his development as a songwriter and a performer accelerated significantly, thanks to the supportive musical community in southern Maine. Bob especially credits the Maine Songwriter’s Association with helping him move his songwriting work into focus in his life.

Alan Dickson is Bob’s close friend and musical partner, and Bob and Alan gig as “McKillop and Dickson” in many venues all over Portland and the surrounding region. July 2007 will mark the duo’s second year as performers at the Yarmouth Clam Festival.

Bob is passionate about songwriting and songwriters. “I see so much talent here in Maine, but these folks are creating this great music in the margins of their lives. I would love to help bring the music industry to Maine, and let these talented songwriters find a way to make a living at what they do best.”

Toward this end, Bob is launching a music publishing firm, and hopes to place Maine songwriters’ work (including his own!) into other artists’ recordings, and into film, and television.

Look for Bob at a local venue, either as a solo performer, or with Alan Dickson, and enjoy the down-to-earth, good-natured, and sincere songwriting that his fans have come to love.


Her Voice Comes Softly To Him

Written By: Bob McKillop

Verse 1

The snow he brushes from his coat,
The sorrow from his eyes
He kneels before the simple stone
She kneels there by his side;
He whispers that he loves her
And she smiles and takes his hand,
Then she fades behind the snow flakes
And he’s all alone again

Chorus 1

And her voice comes softly to him
From the wind chimes in the trees
And he somehow finds the courage
To get up off his knees;
He picks his broken heart up
From where it’s fallen in the snow
And he brings the love she gives him
Back to everyone he knows.

Verse 2

He holds his grandson’s baby
Like some eight pound crystal ball
For in those eyes he sees the future
And it don’t look bad at all
He tries to sing a lullabye
But his voice is way too deep
So he calls upon Great-grandma’s help
And they sing the child to sleep

Chorus 2

And her voice comes softly to him
In that child’s contented sigh
And he somehow finds the courage
To let another day go by;
He feels his heart begin to heal
With each breath that baby blows
And he brings the strength he finds there
Back to everyone he knows

Instrumental Break

Chorus 3

And her voice comes softly to him
In the evening when he’s home
And he somehow finds the courage
To fall asleep alone;
He rises when he sees that eastern
Sky begin to glow
And he brings the hope he finds there
Back to everyone he knows

Chorus 4 – Outro

Yeah her voice comes softly to him
When he needs her by his side
And he gives us all the courage
To admit that we have cried…
He keeps her memory alive
She keeps him on his toes
And he brings the love she gives him
Back to everyone he knows

Portland Afternoon

Written By: Bob McKillop

Verse 1

Up on the Eastern Promenade
I cast into the deep blue sea
Those demons commandeering me
One Portland afternoon

Verse 2

A mainsail snapped out on the bay
In a wind of opportunity
That blew away the fear in me
One Portland afternoon


I stood just beyond the crest of Munjoy Hill
That sunshine lingers in my heart
And the breeze is with me still
Great Diamond Island
And the distant blue horizon
Set my mind to ponderin’
A young man’s dreams of wanderin’
That thirty years of boredom couldn’t kill

Verse 3

Quiet desperation fades
When you embrace your destiny
It all became quite clear to me
One Portland Afternoon

Back When I Used To Say Those Things

Written By: Bob McKillop and John Coale

Verse 1

You would turn around and look me in the eye
And I would lie
But I remember you believed my words were true
And baby, I believed them too
My lies were rocks to which our shipwrecked hearts would cling
Back when I used to say those things

Verse 2

You met the man that I’d been told to be
It wasn’t me
And it took you years to finally realize
You fell in love with my disguise
You never heard the secrets I was whispering
Back when I used to say those things


One night I dreamed that you loved another man
But he left you, and I heard the front door slam
You woke up with a stranger
And I woke up to who I really am…

Verse 3

Since we split, we haven’t got along so well
But what the hell
At least now we’re dealing with reality
I piss you off authentically
The truth might hurt, but I would rather feel the sting
Than go back to when I used to say those things

Kettle Cove

Written By: Bob McKillop and John Coale

First Verse

I grew up here in Kettle Cove
In a three-room shack with an iron stove
Worked the lobster boats with my Uncle Dave
From the day I flunked out of seventh grade
In Kettle Cove, Kettle Cove
Kettle Cove, Kettle Cove

Second Verse

Sue McGraw did the college thing
Fished the Ivy League, caught a wedding ring
But we were lovers once on this sandy beach
Didn’t realize that she was out of reach
For Kettle Cove, Kettle Cove
Kettle Cove, Kettle Cove


Oil and water never mix
And there’s pain that money just won’t fix
We’d had our chance to rise above
The walls they built between our love
But she was only seventeen
And I knew I’d never give her what she’d need
Here in Kettle Cove

Third Verse

Sue is gone, she’s in Boston now
Don’t know when she left, don’t matter anyhow
I’m still here with my iron stove
It’s been forty years, and I’m all alone
In Kettle Cove, Kettle Cove
Kettle Cove, Kettle Cove

Fourth Verse

I walk the surf on a moonless night
There’s no stars above, there isn’t any light
And I hold a lifetime of precious sand
I let it slip through my calloused hands
Into Kettle Cove, Kettle Cove
Kettle Cove, Kettle Cove
Kettle Cove, Kettle Cove

Kettle Cove, Kettle Cove
Kettle Cove

Nightmares of a Dog

Written By: Bob McKillop

Verse 1

Squirrels the size of garbage trucks
Dog house full of barking ducks
Fire in my water bowl
Kitty litter casserole
Tied forever to a pole
The nightmares of a dog!

Verse 2

Howling at a million moons
Flea-dipped in a French perfume
Cadillacs that chase me back
Vet’rinarians dressed in black
Hambone kleptomaniacs
The nightmares of a dog!


Boredom weighs a ton, it drags me under
You don’t play with me enough so it’s no wonder
I whimper in my sleep!

Verse 3

Mean kid with a garden hose
Bumble bee stuck up my nose
Tail caught in a bramble tree
Dog sled pulled by only me
Neutered for eternity!
The nightmares of a dog!
The nightmares of a dog!
The nightmares of a dog!


"Portland Afternoon", a six song EP, is due for release on April 19, 2008!

Set List

Typical set length: 1.5 hours;
With Alan Dickson as "McKillop and Dickson", 2 hours

Number of songs: between 12 and 15 songs per hour;

Sample original songs:

Kettle Cove (by Bob McKillop) - 3 minutes

Deepest Dark Secrets (by Bob McKillop and Alan Dickson) - 4 minutes

Fairhaven (by Bob McKillop) - 4 minutes