A Winter away


see the snow falling around us?
could it be more peaceful here?
my train goes further from the station
a million miles and I’ll be there
and I’ll be…

a fogged up window and my luggage
is all I have to look at here
you know I would not trade this for the world
I just thought maybe I could…
if I could!

if I could leave this place tomorrow
and I’d be home on time this year
and we’d be safe and sound inside of this place
and spend Christmas together

when you wonder how I got this far
it makes me happy just to know
that you’re back at home still missin’ me
and we’re both watching the snow

it’s Christmas Eve and I’m surrounded
by people I don’t even know
all I want is to be home now
all I want is to be…

Lyrics by Shane Sikkema


First Place Hits (Remastered Version) –
The Best & Mostly Worst of 2nd Best 1999-2003


Written by:Shane Sikkema
Lead Vocal:Shane Sikkema
Guitar:Shane Sikkema
Bass:Paul Friemel
Drums:TJ Mapes
Recorded at:BIFI Studios – 5/4/2003
Appears on:First Place Hits
The Best and Mostly Worst of 2nd Best 1998-2003

Song Notes

A Winter Away was recorded at BIFI Studios in Ames, IA using the band’s free studio time won at the VEISHEA 2002 Battle of the Bands. It was somewhat hastily recorded and the performance on the tape is essentially a live musical recording with a single overdub of the vocals. The band wanted to get these post Put Your Heart Where Your Mouth Is songs put to tape before Shane left the band later that Summer. It is evident that there wasn’t a lot of time for perfection in this recording as a small ‘flub’ can be heard where the guitar foot pedal was hit too early to switch from distortion to clean during the musical interlude in the bridge before the final chorus.

– The song was written around the same time as another of Shane’s post album songs, These Autumn Stars. Both songs have a melancholy vibe to them and are indicative of the evolution of the band’s sound after playing over one hundred shows since the release of the album in 2002. The unsigned band life was taking its toll on everyone, and especially Shane who may have started to wonder what all this time spent traveling around was worth. Although the lyrics of the song are not 100% related to the band life, it is clear that Shane was starting to develop other interests beyond the rock star life.

– It is likely Shane was singing specifically about his future wife, who he had started a relationship with around this time. Lucky lay-day!

– The song was given a light remaster for its inclusion on First Place Hits which bumped up the levels, but the recording mix is still the same so the original release version is almost exactly the same as the remaster.

– In the recording of Shane’s final show with 2nd Best, Paul mentions that “this is my favorite song we do” in regards to A Winter Away. Additional harmonies are sung by Paul on this recording, which were developed after the initial recording and would’ve probably been included on a fully realized studio track, if given the chance to make it. A Winter Away was not performed by 2nd Best after Shane’s departure.


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