ToC Critic’s Pick: Pat Green, ‘While I Was Away’ [Listen]
If you want to see a statue leak tears, play it Pat Green’s “While I Was Away.”
Green’s new single from the upcoming Home album is a cry-at-first-sight kind of song for anyone with kids or a pulse. Give credit to writer Zane Williams for penning a sharp, detailed story that touches on very specific things every parent can relate to. The song is simply heartbreaking.
“By the time I made it home / You were already in bed / Chubby cheek pressed to the pillow / By a bed time book you read,” Green sings to begin “While I Was Away,” an acoustic ballad from an album set to drop on August 14.
“And I noticed that you looked older / Than you did yesterday / You've been growing up / While I was away.”
Green’s delicate, personal approach prevents it from slipping into some mawkish dad-to-boy tribute. It’s anything but corny in fact. The chorus goes:
“For every dollar I earn, there's a lesson you learn without me there / And every day I'm on the go I'm prayin' that you know that your daddy cares / 'Cause the hardest part about workin' hard ain't the bills I gotta pay / It's you growin' up while I was away.”
Williams doesn’t back off after that. If you’ve gotten this far without reaching for a tissue and you need to keep yourself together, don’t read on. The second verse is a knife to the heart:
“And I found your note in the kitchen / It's a real work of art / A stickman holding your stick hand with ‘Daddy’ written in a heart / And it got me good 'cause I understood just what you meant to say / You've been missing me too / While I was away.”
It’s difficult to remember a song from the last five years that made this kind of instant impact. Green is an independent artist now, so radio will be slow to play “While I Was Away,” if they choose to at all. Fortunately there are other avenues for fans to hear great country music in 2015.
Key Lyrics: "'Cause the hardest part about workin' hard ain't the bills I gotta pay / It's you growin' up while I was away."
Did You Know?: Green says he knew this song was special after both he and his wife started bawling while listening during a car ride.
Listen to Pat Green, “While I Was Away”