Candle On The Shore

from Justin Philip Brooks by Justin Philip Brooks

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about

At the turn of the 20th century my great-great grandfather, James Perciville Brooks, was the keeper of the Point Bolivar lighthouse at the southern tip of the Bolivar Peninsula, just across Galveston Bay. During the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 that decimated the entire city, my great-great grandfather helped shelter 125 Bolivar residents from the storm in the lighthouse. Another devastating hurricane happened again in 1915, where another 60 souls were sheltered from the storm. This is a story told with pride in my family for a few generations now, remembering James Brooks's bravery during that deadly storm.

This is a song I wrote in honor of him. The setting of the song takes place in 1915 from the perspective of someone who survived the 1900 hurricane in the lighthouse and is telling someone they know that they can wait out the storm in safety at the Candle On The Shore. Some of the lyrics are direct quotes from my grandfather that I found in books and newspapers, such as "It shook and swayed in the wind like a giant reed." I really hope you enjoy this song and this bit of Texas/family history.

lyrics

Hurricane a brewin on the bay

Hurricane a brewin on the bay

If you want to see the light of day

Listen close, hear what I say
Make your way for the candle on the shore

Look for that light and the stripes of black and white
Look for that light and the stripes of black and white
Quick now, run with all your might

That light’s gonna save your life tonight
Make your way for the candle on the shore

There’s a keeper-­man, who goes by JPB
There’s a keeper-­man, who goes by JPB
He’ll take you in, ‘cause he well knows
that storm from fifteen years ago
Knock on that door of the candle on the shore

Sixty souls in the stairwell, two by two

Sixy souls in the stairwell, two by two

Fifteen years ago we stayed alive

when we numbered a hundred twenty five
Safe from that storm in the candle on the shore

It shook and swayed in the wind like a giant reed

It shook and swayed in the wind like a giant reed
Keeper­-man do the best he can

barring wind-­blown doors, turning lamps by hand
As it rained and poured on the candle on the shore

I step outside when the wind and rain subside
I step outside when the wind and rain subside
Will ne’er forget what I seen
that August 1915
Wasn’t nothing left, but the candle on the shore
But thank God for the candle on the shore
Always look for the candle on the shore

credits

from Justin Philip Brooks, released August 25, 2017

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Justin Philip Brooks Dallas, Texas

With a well-worn guitar and powerful vocal delivery, Justin brings the comfort of a Southeast Texas porch to his listener’s ears by artfully exploring the great traditions of folk, gospel, and country.

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