You Are With Me

by maxwell stern

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1.
Brushstrokes 03:45
A man with a good tooth Was waiting on the train at the same stop that I was I couldn’t tell who wanted to talk less—me or him He wrote in a notebook Filled pages as he sat without even looking up And on the cover he’d wrote “pictures of me and you” After the third delay Grew a smile on his face Squared his shoulders across the bench And so I did the same Shared a laugh and our names I asked about what the notebook meant Said I can picture (yeah I can picture) just where I was When all the brushstrokes Would contour in the same way, the same way I had a fresh coat, a clean start But I knew it’d fall apart like it always does I keep the portraits, they come with me when I go The sun set on south bank Now he’s digging for a flask Buried in his overcoat or maybe in a duffel bag With someone’s name etched on either side Poured a little on the bricks Then he offers it to me I pretended not to hear and told a story about you Cuz all my best ones are
2.
After the chairs get stacked up on the tables Floors slick with cleaner, private space once held For drunk conversations, half-remembered stories Nights trailing off towards endings to retell In the hour between want and working I can start to plot a path from here To illuminate our loss and learning These power lines are chandeliers I circle like a hawk over the highway I circle like a hawk over the highway Talk over bands, make jokes about New Jersey Mutual friends, our favorite lines and chords Stare down a season huddled in a twin bed Whole but suspended, bracing for the war Like a migratory bird returning From an unforgiving habitat For those dual oncoming lights i'm looking Forever staring down that track I circle like a hawk over the highway I circle like a hawk over the highway I circle like a hawk over the highway I circle like a hawk over the highway Arms stretching out from back when Days turning over again Two different sides of a lens Focusing in
3.
Older 03:26
We can’t just cut four blocks walk to that private beach with the dock where you would kick off your shoes, I’d keep watch for passing cars And I never joined you despite the way That river breeze still flicks ‘cross my face How I repelled all the things you embraced Look where it got me Hair over your shoulder God, I got older And I can see pretty far now without turning around So what’s the difference? From your perspective Between the last time we tried and all those same reasons you know we shouldn’t now Well you got some sun I’ve been indoors I feel each step on the hardwood floor for all the times I wanted nothing more I was unprepared Well nobody tells you That it’s the last time Until you look back ’n that time was the last So you recant, reframe and rehash Until it sits right Over your shoulder We both got older And it’s not so hard to see how You’re over the fence Before I could think I’m following you up the north side bank I feel the reeds fold under my feet As you turned around
4.
You are with me in the deep tree creaking In gnarled roots on every hill You moved the earth in me when you were speaking Horizons bending to your will You are with me You are with me You are with me in the great stream falling Over edges into blue A bent carnation and the cardinal calling It all reminded me of you You are with me You are with me Spent that morning getting springtime started Spreading seeds out on the floor You always looked ahead a little farther Felt everything a little more You are with me You are with me You are with me You are with me You complained about the sand Picking glass out of your hand Love can survive on any scale And so I trace the magic of the trail You are with me You are with me You are with me You are with me

credits

released November 19, 2021

Maxwell Stern - vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, Wurlitzer, lyrics/songwriting on tracks 2 & 4, artwork
Gordon M. Phillips - vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lyrics/songwriting on tracks 1-3

WITH:

Ian Farmer - bass, bass engineering
Adam Beck - drums, drum engineering
Mike "Slo-Mo" Brenner - pedal steel on "Older"

Recorded and mixed by Andy Tyler Clarke at Retro City Studios in Germantown, Philadelphia, PA
Mastered by Zach Weeks at God City Studios in Salem, MA

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maxwell stern Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Hailing from the post-industrial shores of Cleveland, OH, Maxwell Stern has been writing music and touring since the early 2000s. He has released a slew of LPs and 7"s, and has played shows pretty much everywhere including an abandoned restaurant in Wyoming, a mall in China, several squats in Germany and a pretty nice bookstore in Australia. He is definitely not the person writing this. ... more

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