Music sounds different when you’re a father.
Sad, degenerate country songs are starting to sound like lullabies. Drinking anthems begin to sound like the soundtrack of a bygone era that will never return.
And the stories behind the lyrics begin to take on new meanings amid the crying and screaming that surrounds you.
Daddy life is great, don’t get me wrong. But when you’re a dad, you need country music more than ever to stay healthy.
Here are ten selections that will walk alongside you as you grow into the epic dad you never thought you’d grow up to be.
There Goes My Life – Kenny Chesney
“There Goes My Life”
There goes my future, my everything
Might as well kiss it all goodbye
There goes my life…”
Don’t tell your kids, but maybe the chorus in Kenny Chesney’s hit single was your first reaction to becoming a father. Priorities and activities and maybe even the trajectory of your life changes when children come on the scene.
In the music video for this one, the child turns into Amber HeardSo you never really know where your fatherhood path might one day lead. Thoughts and prayers, my husband.
Where the Green Grass Grows – Tim McGraw
At some point you settle into the reality of fatherhood. And first of all you have to put food on the table for all those extra mouths.
Tim here paints an all-too-familiar picture of the working man’s rut. You may have impossible dreams of raising your children on a peaceful farm. But you can be sure that the green grass will also grow in your perfectly manicured front yard.
Dad’s life isn’t that bad after a few beers of mowing the lawn, so maybe you can get used to this.
Every light in the house is on – Trace Adkins
When you’re a father, you develop a superhuman ability to sense when electricity is being wasted.
While Trace Adkins’ behavior would never fly into my house, the chorus sounds with the kind of exaggeration that’s perfect for yelling at your kids:
“Every light in the house is on
The backyard is bright as the crack of dawn
The lead looks like runway lighting
It’s a bit like midday in the middle of the night”
Turn off those damn lights when you leave the room…
Things Have Broken – George Jones
Oh great, now the house is falling apart. And who gets to fix the leaking tap, hang up the picture that has fallen and replace the light bulb in the hallway?
Dad, of course, as if he had nothing better to do! Will you give me a beer that changes the light bulb, will you?
“The Housewife’s Prayer” – Pistol Annies
“I’ve thought about”
Set my house on fire…”
I lose it here. This song may be about housewives, but men are taking on more and more household and childcare duties these days.
This song is a little too real, so I’m flushing those matches down the toilet, just in case…
Here’s A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares) – Travis Tritt
Here’s an anthem that I can really get behind. These kids keep asking for snacks and more Blippi and “Where’s my iPad” and…. I can not take it anymore.
“Here’s a quarter, son…” If only that made any sense to this kid whose cell phone bill I’m paying….
If you don’t say anything at all – Keith Whitley
It’s so loud in this house right now… if these kids would shut up so I could think…
Fathers know that demanding silence from a screaming child will only provoke louder screams from them and higher blood pressure for you. Maybe if you can channel Keith Whitley, you’ll finally have some peace of mind. Children, “You say it best when you don’t say anything at all.”
Unlikely, but it’s worth a try.
I think I’ll just stay here and drink – Merle Haggard
Speaking of shots, you don’t go to bars anymore, Dad. All the shots you get are cast by you and knocked back after the kids are in bed.
If someone asks if you’re free for a night out on the town, Merle tells you how to reply, “I think I’ll just stay here and have a drink.”
You might as well get stoned – Chris Stapleton
While you’re at it, if it’s legal in your country, why not? Kids are down, wife is here to handle emergencies (thanks, honey), and the whiskey is gone thanks to all those shots you did while listening to Merle.
Drive (for Daddy Gene) – Alan Jackson
Now that you’re drunk and high, it’s time to pull the strings on your heart. It’s hard being a father. But every year you build a new memory, just as AJ describes in his classic father song.
Is this the GOAT of father songs, by the way? The 20-year-old brother who cried next to me on the Alan Jackson show in 2015 certainly thought so.
Excuse me as I flip through photos of my boys and cry in my Busch Light nightcap.