Suzanne Vega's parents divorced shortly after she was born, and she was brought up by her jazz guitarist mother and Puerto Rican novelist stepfather. Vega told American Songwriter that this song's lyric, "When bloods sees blood of its own. It sings to see itself again. It sings to hear the voice its known. It sings to recognize the face" is, "about meeting my birth father for the first time."
The song features longtime Vega associate Marc Shulman playing the bouzouki. The long-necked string instrument is a mainstay of Greek music and its origins lie with the 4th century BC pandourion, the very first known fretted instrument.