While I Was Away

Songfacts®:

  • This poignant song about a man missing ones family was penned by Zane Williams. The Texas singer-songwriter is best known for "Hurry Home," the title track of his 2005 album, which won him a $20,000 prize at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and was later covered by Jason Michael Carroll.

    Green recorded the tune as a love letter to his children – son Kellis and daughter Rainey.
  • Green first heard Williams' demo of the song whilst in his car with his wife Kori. "I was driving down the road and popped in his CD - which I hadn't heard yet," he recalled to Billboard magazine. "I look down, and there were chill bumps on my legs and my arms. Then I feel these tears filling up my eyes. I was really having an emotional response to it, and I looked over at my wife, and she's crying buckets. I thought, 'This is a real song. It speaks the truth."

    "I called Zane and begged him not to put it out," Green added. "It took a lot of begging, but at the end of the day, I'm going to have to buy him a Cadillac or something... a steak dinner for sure."
  • The song's Jeff Ray-directed music clip is a tribute to the parents whose work keep them from missing out at times on their children growing up. "This video is special because it reminds us that everyone has a common bond: love for our children... as well as the feeling that our 'kids being kids' goes by way too fast," Green told People.
  • Asked what made the song resonate so strongly with him by The Boot, Green replied: "When I was on tour with [Kenny] Chesney in 2007, I came home for two weeks to watch my daughter be born and be with Mama. And then I went back on the road, and I didn't come home for four months. I saw her maybe another two or three times until she was six months old."

    "You come home, and you're like, 'Dang. Why am I doing this? Is this really what God intended?' It's not natural for you not to be around your kid for the first half of the first year of their life. But I didn't have a choice if I wanted to have a career doing this, being on the Chesney tour, the biggest tour in the world. The tour was bigger than U2, was bigger than the [Rolling] Stones – more people, more everything. And I had that opportunity given to me by Chesney; I had to take it. And that really was one of the things that set my career in motion."

    "When you're done with that tour, and you realize that there's an infant at home that you haven't really met, you're pretty ready to get home."

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