Doc Mills

From the North

Caught in a storm and left to rust...

Time is an endless loop. It is amazing how much we are built of seemingly mundane decisions made long ago by people we may never know. “Brooklyn Shore” is at once biographical and auto-biographical, and is a reflection on how lives overlap as the loop repeats.

I have tended to play this song alone with one guitar, but as we planned to record it I knew that I wanted to do it with pedal steel. I told John Widgren—who is undoubtedly one of the great pedal players in America—to invoke in this song the Western music that was always around in my youth, often on the radio in my grandfathers’ old red truck as we bounced down a rutted country road. I didn’t pay heed to that music back then; it was just music. But it turns out it was seeping into me and waiting to be called upon. I moved on and away, but it was there all along. And every year of my life, that music becomes more central to me. Time is an endless loop.

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brooklyn shore

Our trail flies back to the dock
Grey line drawn in fading chalk
Cigarettes shine a beacon West
To flaxen field, and pale breast

I wasn't home when the letter came
She opened it and read my name
She left it there to calcify
Next to half a glass of rye

They say God is on our side
But no one came to say goodbye
We're getting in the war
I’d rather be on the Brooklyn shore

We married young, I can't say why
It gets so you can't even try
Steel and sweat and prairie dust
Caught in a storm and left to rust

She pressed a coin in my hand
Said use this to call when you can
I left it in my drawer
Back on the Brooklyn shore

She stood in the kitchen door
Cloaked in her oven's warmth
Her hair fell in a lonely braid
That was the last day I prayed

There was kindness in her eyes
And I've held it for a hundred nights
But I can’t see her anymore
She's far beyond the Brooklyn shore