Crosby told Mojo magazine the story of this song: "A poet friend of mine who works in a bookstore, Stirling Price, sent me a poem. I said, 'That sounds like the first verse of the song, can you write me another?' He did. Then I said, 'Do you know what a bridge is?' 'No.' 'It's a place where you sort of stay on the same subject back down to different scansion.' And he wrote a bridge, then one more verse. I wrote the music."
That's Jazz great Wynton Marsalis performing the trumpet solo. "He's a consummate musician," Crosby told Rolling Stone. "I took a chance and asked him and he just said, 'Yeah, send me the tape.' What he played was just beautiful. He has tone for days."