Your Take: Who’s Your Daddy

Karlie Justus Marlowe | June 19th, 2010

Sunday marks Father’s Day, a holiday dedicated to celebrating dad of all shapes and sizes – both physically and emotionally.

The father figure has always played an important role in country music, from Waylon Jenning’s “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line” to George Strait’s “Love Without End, Amen.” On the other hand, some songs never explicitly mention dear old Dad – kind of like the musical card I just picked up for my father yesterday that launches into Alan Jackson’s “Working Class Hero” when opened.

It’s no surprise, then, that this week in country music news saw a lot of buzz around father songs. The crew over at CMT joined in on the fun, listing their favorites ranging from classics such as “Daddy Frank,” by Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton’s “Daddy Come and Get Me” and “That’s My Job” by Conway Twitty mixed in with newer songs such as Alan Jackson’s “Drive” and “He Didn’t Have to Be” by Brad Paisley.

The Boot also spoke with country stars about the roles their fathers played in their careers. Keith Urban, in particular, credited his dad with jump-starting his love for music:

Keith Urban cites his father as the reason he made it to Nashville and is doing what he loves to do. “His record collection was what got me pointed towards Nashville,” says the multi-talented musician. “He drove me to the music store to buy my first guitar. He was always extremely supportive of my music, and I have a lot to to be grateful to him for. Years later, he’s still married to my mum, and he’s got two sons that love him. So, I think that counts for a good job.” Keith actually wrote a tribute to his father, aptly titled ‘Song for Dad,’ which appears on his ‘Golden Road’ album.

So in the spirit of Father’s Day, we want to know about the impact your father has had on your love and taste in country music. What songs do you remember your dad listening to growing up? Did your dad help you fall in love with country music, or was it one of the reasons you avoided the genre?

And while you’re at it, we’d love to know your favorite dad song – check out Juli’s 30 Songs About Dads list from last year to get you started.

  1. Paul W Dennis
    June 19, 2010 at 7:22 am

    My Dad had wide and varied musical tastes but I would guess that Country Music was his biggest love, particularly artists like Hank Snow, Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest Tubb and George Hamilton IV. While he sometimes listened to classic pop and big band jazz, when Dad played his guitar, he sang folk and country.

    Meaningful song : “That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine” sung by many but best by Gene Autry

    If God would but grant me the power
    Just to turn back the pages of Time
    I’d give all I own if I could but atone
    To that silver haired Daddy of mine

    I lost my father on March 23, 2003 and I’d give anything to have him back

  2. Dave D.
    June 19, 2010 at 9:17 am

    “Did your dad help you fall in love with country music, or was it one of the reasons you avoided the genre?”

    Yes, to both. Country music was played regularly around the house in my youth, and I went through an early adolescent period of liking every kind of music but country (HT:Robbie Fulks). Off on my own, I was reintroduced to Hank Williams and George Jones, and had matured to the point where I realized it was OK to like the same sort of music my parents did. Fast-forward thirty years, and one of my favorite memories of my Dad’s final journey down the hospital/convalescent home/hospice path was huddliing around the radio with him for the weekly country music oldies show.

    Veering a full 180 degrees in emotional direction, my favorite dad song is Lydia Loveless’ The Only Man, even without any personal relevance whatsoever.

  3. Nicolas
    June 19, 2010 at 9:46 am

    None what-so-ever… my mama and my Grandma are the ones in the family who passed down a love of country music to me. My dad listens to like Rock and New Age music, and he makes fun of the twang in country music.

    My favorite dad-themed song is Sara Evans’ “You’ll Always Be My Baby”

  4. Erik
    June 19, 2010 at 10:33 am

    My father generally despises music, and on the rare occasion he does listen to some, it’s power-ballads from the likes of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. So, I can’t say I learned much about country from him – that honor belongs to my grandmother.

  5. Michelle
    June 19, 2010 at 11:02 am

    He had to have had an impact on my love for country music, since it was always played in the car and at the house. He loved George Jones, Cash, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, Hank Williams, Porter Wagoner, Earnest Tubb, Clint Black, Dwight Yoakam, Merle Haggard, to name a few. My favorite dad song would have to be, “That’s My Job.” It’s a very special song to me. I love “I Miss You A Little” by JMM. That one chokes me up every time, too. I think I’ll go cry now.

  6. Drew
    June 19, 2010 at 11:27 am

    My dad’s never been an avid country fan per se, but growing up he has opened my eyes to a few good artists who lean that way. Probably Gordon Lightfoot and John Denver chief among them. I remember on sunny summer afternoons he’d sit out in the yard with their records going, helped him relax, and over time I started enjoying them more too.

  7. Ian
    June 19, 2010 at 11:30 am

    The dollar by Jamey Johnson is a good one for me

  8. Thomas
    June 19, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    …my dad didn’t seem to be particularly fond of music but he used to listen to swiss folk music on the radio. swiss folk music is the kind of sound that makes patty loveless’ mountain soul records sound pretty avantgardistic.

    interestingly enough, his most favorite song was the one that, a few years ago, a national tv-audience voted to be the biggest song in swiss musical history. in fact, it’s a classic multi-verse country song starting in the youth of the protagonist and ending – where else – in heaven.

    curious souls find it on youtube: dr schacher seppli (little joe schacher) by ruedi rymann

  9. Brady Vercher
    June 19, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    We didn’t have much music around the house when I was younger, but any time we’d hop in the truck to head to town, our dad would trade lines with us on songs like “Pancho and Lefty,” “Strawberry Roan,” “The Battle of New Orleans” (we never could make it through powderin’ the gator’s behind without cracking up), “El Paso,” or we’d pop in a cassette of Chris LeDoux’s Old Cowboy Classics. He definitely had an impact on my choice of music, but these days country has pretty much left him behind and he exclusively listens to bluegrass.

    The George Strait and Guy Clark entries on Juli’s list are a couple of my favorites and while technically not a father song, Randy Travis’ “He Walked On Water” is another.

    As an aside, Darrell Scott is offering a free download of “A Father’s Song” off his latest album for Father’s Day.

  10. CMW
    June 19, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    My dad has never been an active consumer of music as far as buying albums or having the radio playing around the house, but he would usually find a Christian station in the car and sing along at the top of his lungs to pass time during road trips. He could never carry a tune or remember lyrics (still can’t), so road trips were always interesting.

    Grandma used to play an old Doug & Rusty Kershaw cassette while she worked in the kitchen, but other than that I’ve pretty much discovered all the country artists and history on my own.

    That Darrell Scott song Brady linked to is one of my favorites on the album.

  11. Vicki
    June 19, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    My Dad enjoyed a range of music from Sinatra, Martin and the Big Band Era of the 40ths. That sound is probably what got me playing trumpet. But he did have some country music: “Big, Bad, John”; “King of the Road”; all the ballad’s of Johnny Horton.

  12. Chris N.
    June 19, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Dad was all about Bob Seger. It was really my grandparents who introduced me to country music.

  13. Stormy
    June 19, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    My Dad has a tendancy to like the blandest, most generic music possible. He was busy listening to Bobby Darrin and Kenny G while my Mom was introducing me to the music of Kristofferson, Joplin and Parson’s. His taste in country ran towards Jim Reeves and Lynn Anderson.

    As for Dad’s songs, growing up I was/am my mother’s liberal, hippie, feminist, artsy independant daughter who did things to protest my school’s treatment of my gay freinds and bailed for an out of state college as quickly as possible. My sister was/is my father’s conservative, 80’s, traditional daughter who took his advice, married military and settled down close to home. (People who don’t know us well think that I am my mother’s daughter from her first marriage and my sister is his daughter from his first marriage, but they have only been married once. And growing up I thought this kind of relationship was why people had two kids.) Dad songs have always been a quandry to me because they either present a Daddy’s Little Girl scenario I don’t relate to (Bobby Bare, “Daddy’s Girl”) or are far too seething with rage (Jewel’s “Daddy.”) Probably the closest two I can come are:
    The Car:
    The Randall Knife:

  14. Fizz
    June 19, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Well, when I was a kid, my dad was the ONLY one in the family that liked country. But he was a trucker, and so wasn’t around to really expose me to it. My mom and basically every other relative who wasn’t male and of a certain age coudln’t stand country … until country started going after the pop audience that was finding top-40 radio in the early ’90’s a bit confusing. I discovered Guns n’ Roses at the tender age of eight, and my fate as a lifelong headbanger was sealed, but sometime in college, I developed an affinity for classic country, mainly of the honky-tonk or outlaw variety. Now I work in an office with a bunch of women who love the fake, watered-down crap on country radio, so I’ve been hearing that (against my will) a good bit myself.

    And at the same time, back in the ’80’s, my dad wanted nothing to do with rock, he now probably listens to as much classic-rock as he does country, even as I’ve come to embrace a bit of country myself. If you had told me as a kid that one day I’d have an extra ticket to an Iron Maiden concert and wind up taking my dad, I’d have laughed you out of the room.

    For a dad-song, I guess it would have to be “Drive’ by Alan Jackson, much as I dislike the song’s overly sentimental nature. Or Alan’s in general, for that matter. Makes me think of those times, we’d be riding around, just the two of us when he was home, adn he’d let me shift gears in his pickup. Perhaps not surprisingly, I caught him getting misty-eyed at the song himself when it first came out.

  15. Fizz
    June 19, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Got to put in a word for my grandfather as well, as when I was first taking guitar lessons, at about age twelve or thirteen, he offered me a hundred dollars to learn “Tennessee Flat Top Box,” Roseanne Cash’s version that was popular at the time. And of course I didn’t do it. And my guitar teacher said he thought it required an alternate tuning, so I used that as my excuse. And of course, my grandfather died a few years later, and I never did learn that damn song.

    So earlier this year, I bought a nice acoustic guitar, as kind of a congraulatory present for myself for getting a better job. My old acoustic wasn’t worth a doodle or a fart, so this new one gave me all sorts of ideas. Still don’t know that song, but I know “Wildwood Flower.” Wish I could play it for him. That ought to at least worth $50. Ha!

  16. Ken Morton, Jr.
    June 19, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    My father was more into Dionne Warwick and Carole King, but he exposed us to music of all kinds growing up. I do have to thank him for taking me to the concert that knocked my socks off- a 1985 Judds concert up at Tahoe where we got to sit in the front row and have Wynonna flirt with my younger brother and I all night. She gave us autographed picks at the end of the night and from then on, I was pretty interested in the whole country music thing.

    Later on, when I was eighteen working at our local golf course, the Highwaymen came through town on tour. Willie, Johnny and Waylon came over and played a round of golf and needed a ride back to their hotel. My father let me drive them back over to get ready for their concert. Even though at that time, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing or to the real legacy of the three gentlemen in the backseat of our SUV, I look at it as my opportunity to be in the presence of true country greatness looking back. Now as I’m older and have a much deeper respect and knowledge for the three artists careers, that little car ride is a special memory. And my dad knew it would be all along.

  17. Julia Hughan
    June 19, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Music has always bonded my father and I together. I am 22 years old and we are still exchanging records and attending gigs together which I love. My father was also the one that introduced me to country music and though now I am the one often introducing the music to him.

    His favourite track of all time is still Emmylou Harris’ “Boulder to Birmingham” which in turn has become one of mine also. The Pieces of the Sky record on vinyl defined my musical upbringing and is still the record played in the background at dinner parties, get-togethers and barbecues.

    My favourite ‘Dad song’ is Reba McEntire’s “The Greatest Man I Never Knew”. It is fitting because it reminds me of how hard my father has worked to provide for my family and it also makes me thankful for the relationship that we do have.

  18. Leeann Ward
    June 19, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    My dad listens to all sorts of music, but I think classical is probably his favorite. He exposed us to a lot of music, even before I had any idea of what genres were. He always indulged me in my love of country music though. I don’t know that it is among his favorite types of music, but he knows a lot about it and would always engage me in conversation about it when I was growing up. When he and I would go on eight hour car trips to visit his parents (I was the only kid who could stay awake on such long trips), he would always let me play my country mixes the whole time. I’m pretty sentimental when it comes to my dad, I’ll admit.

  19. Leeann Ward
    June 19, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    I don’t know what my dad’s favorite country song is now, but I once remember him telling me that George Strait’s “Baby Blue” was one of his favorites.

  20. Mike Wimmer
    June 20, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    “Cool” by John Michael Montgomery is a good song about Father’s.

    My personal favorite is still “Homecoming” by Tom T. Hall though

  21. Noeller
    June 20, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    My dad was a huge fan of country music, and country radio, which drove both my music and my career. I can remember him excitedly turning up the radio in the car, and telling us all about “Coward Of The County” and why it was such a great song. Ditto Reba’s “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia”. He was very passionate about great songs, and to this day, still has a love for the music on Country radio and is my number one fan.

    Keith Urban’s “Song For Dad” is definitely my favourite Dad song, and I’ve used it as a father’s day gift in the past. I’ve sorta lived Paisley’s “He Didn’t Have To Be”, so that one will always be important to me, too. I’ve only recently discovered Conway’s “It’s My Job” and I really love that one too.

    So many great dad songs!! :)

  22. t.scott
    June 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I miss my Dad a lot.I’ve written many times here about how he loved to play records,and how I always had music around the house.Every time I hear another “soundalike” artist on “country radio”,I think about my Dad telling me “artist X couldn’t carry Hank’s guitar”. Many times it was true…..

  23. Dusty Dee
    June 22, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Kris Kristofferson. My Dad listened to Kris all the time. To this very day, when I listen to Kris, it brings back memories of my Dad.

  24. Ben Foster
    June 22, 2010 at 10:35 am

    This song was not a hit, but have you ever heard of “Waiting on the Wind,” a beautiful father-daughter duet by none other than the Tillises, Pam and Mel? It’s from Pam’s “Thunder & Roses” album. That song gives me chills!

  25. borsa
    June 27, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    My Dad enjoyed a range of music from Sinatra, Martin and the Big Band Era of the 40ths.

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