From “That’s My Job” and “A Boy Named Sue” to “Drive (For Daddy Gene)” and “Love Without End, Amen,” country artists have a long tradition of connecting with their dads in song.
In honor of Father’s Day on June 17, Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Kip Moore, Sam Hunt, Lauren Alaina, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood weighed in on the impact their fathers had on them.
“My dad is a—I’m trying to find the right words to describe him. My dad is a great guy, honest guy, very call it like he sees it, which is where I get a lot of that. No BS. I’m gonna tell you how I feel whether you like it or not. I’m that guy, I’m me . . . My dad’s that way, so I get a lot of that from him. There’s also an honesty and an integrity that my dad carries himself with that I’ve always admired.”
“My dad was my biggest influence in country music because my dad loved country radio. So, we always drove around listening to country radio and George Strait, Hank Williams and Randy Travis and all these guys. Without him, I wouldn’t be doing this, that’s for sure.”
“He would just play all those classic records—Little River Band, Jackson Browne, Springsteen, Seger, Willie Nelson, Kristofferson, Sam Cook—like classic music. He’d be singing the songs and telling us why it was such good music. And I looked up to him so much, that’s the music I gravitated towards and that’s what I continue to listen to. Whenever I think about those old fishing trips, that’s what I think about is on the way down there, him singing those songs and all of us singing ’em.”
“I’m obviously biased about my parents, but I’ve been around a lot of great men of integrity, but he is by far the best man that I know. He’s just taught me so much about being a man, doing the right thing, knowing the difference between right and wrong. And even though I don’t always follow his lead, I definitely know better because of him, and that means a whole lot to me. I was just really fortunate to have him as a dad, and he’s great.”
“Oh my gosh. My dad’s the best. I’m really proud of my daddy. “October 6th will be his five-year anniversary of being sober. So that’s a big one for us. And it’s been really amazing the last few years with his recovery. Our relationship was a little rocky before he went into rehab and now we talk every single day. And he is my daddy and I’m so proud of him. He’s the hardest worker I know, and that’s why I work so hard because I grew up watching him do it. I’m proud of him and he moved to Alabama for work and he loves it, and he’s like 30 minutes from the beach. So, I’m trying to hit that beach up every minute I can. But I’m really proud of him, and he’s a great dad and he always has been.”
Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum
“I definitely got my Type-A personality from my dad. He’s the same way, but one thing I’m so appreciative of—especially from a father-daughter relationship—my dad always, always talked to me, even when I didn’t want to talk to him. He would force me to communicate and talk through things, and not always the easy stuff, which is such a rare quality in a man, truthfully. And so, I am very, very thankful for that. I think it helped me find the right husband for me, and I also know that it will help me be that much of a better communicator to my children.” —Hillary Scott
“My dad was a really hard worker growing up and was always great, however hard he worked, he’d always make important time for family, important time to be home for dinner and be there for a lot of special moments for us growing up. For all the money he would make, he would always give a portion of it back to charity or to the church, and so that was always important for me to watch. We had a great relationship growing up. My dad plays guitar, he’s very musical. I learned how to play acoustic guitar with him playing ‘Day Tripper’ by the Beatles and all these old songs we’d play together when he’d show me how to play these James Taylor songs and things like that. So, definitely want to pass along music, of course, to my children, as well, like that.” —Dave Haywood
all photos by Jason Simanek