Country Stars Celebrate Dad
Father's Day is Sunday (June 19), and many of your favorite country artists will be celebrating. The Boot compiled thoughts and stories on fatherhood from Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Trace Adkins and more.
The father of two young daughters, Keith Urban talks about his own father and in what ways he influenced him toward a music career. "Dad was the reason that I'm here today. His record collection was what got me pointed me towards Nashville. He drove me to the music store to buy my first guitar. He was always extremely supportive of my music. I have a lot to be grateful to him for ... and [more than 40] years later, he's still married to my mum, and he's got two sons who love him. So I think that counts for a good job."
Keith actually wrote and recorded a tune for his father, 'Song for Dad,' which appears on his 'Golden Road' album. "It's a very strange relationship a lot of the times between fathers and sons. I just wanted to write a song to say thanks to my dad. My love for American country music, American cars, American culture -- all of that stuff was inherited from my dad," Keith explains. "He grew up in the '50s and was infected with rock 'n roll, so that really started it for him. He was sucked in to the vortex, you know, and I inherited all that stuff. I love the fact I did because it sent me on my path and it was where I was supposed to be, so this song was my way of saying thanks to him."
Carrie Underwood knows her father is really proud of her, even if he doesn't say it out loud. "My dad's the kind of person that most likely he'll never look at me or my sisters and say, 'Hey, I'm proud of you,' or 'You're doing a great job,' or anything like that, but I catch him watching things that he's taped of me on TV and stuff like that," the Oklahoma native explains. "That means a lot, and I'd meet co-workers of his that used to work with him, and they'd say, 'Your dad has pictures of you all over his desk.' Proud to the world [laughs] ... not so much to me, but proud to the world."
Brad Paisley was extremely close to his grandfather, who gave him his first guitar. He recalls a bittersweet moment with the elder Paisley that he later realized was a huge compliment. "My grandpa and I had an argument back when I had been playing [guitar] for a couple years, and we were best buddies," he says. "I came up the alley all upset, and I told my dad that he got mad at me. My dad called and said, 'What happened? What did you guys have a fight about?' He was hemmin' and hawin' around a little bit, and we'd been playing the guitar, and I guess I had showed him how to do something and he wasn't getting it. And I might have been a little short with him, and he ended up being a lot short with me. Long story short, he got mad at me because, he said, 'Well Doug, truth is, he did it better than I did.' He was just kind of mad at himself at the same time that he was really proud of me."
Even though his son is an adult now, George Strait offers advice for any first-time fathers. "[Laughs] Just hold on to your hat -- you're in for a pretty good ride there! I can't give you any advice except that those kids will change your life ... and it's great having them. Hopefully you'll have the kind of bond that I have with my son, which is very, very special."
Faith Hill couldn't ask for a better dad for her three girls. "Tim is an amazing father," she says. "The kids just love it when he walks in the door. They jump up and down -- 'When's Daddy coming? When's Daddy coming home?' The question has been asked which one of us is the disciplinarian in the family. [laughs] He says he is, and probably in a lot of cases he is because he's just -- like everything else -- he makes a choice and he goes with it. It's yes or no."
Tim McGraw says family is his first priority. "You don't balance them. If you try to balance it, you're fighting a losing battle. It really isn't a balance. You've got to put your family first, and try to do everything you can that way, and whatever's left over can go to your career or whatever else."
Dierks Bentley jokes he is expecting a lot of presents from his two daughters -- Evie, 2, and Jordan, 6 months. "My daughter Evie, she loves being out and about and seeing stuff," the proud father explains. "She's got a real gregarious personality and loves to be around music. It's everywhere she goes ... my daughter's exposure to music is crazy. There's music everywhere. She loves it! I'm not trying to turn her into my 401k package down the road, but if she wanted to get into the business, I'd support her."
Trace Adkins hopes his work as a father will never end. "I hope that my children think of me as, if nothing else, a wise old sage that they can come to get some type of advice from," the father of five says. "I want to feel like I'm part of their lives. I hope they will make sure that they involve me in stuff from now on. I hope that they will. I'd like to think my job [as a father] will never be done."
Darius Rucker has spent most of his life on the road as a musician, but once he had children, it was hard to leave home so often. He and his wife decided to handle it in an extremely normal way. "The one thing we decided a long time ago when the kids were born was Dad going away and coming back was not a big deal," Darius explains. "Don't bring a bunch of presents when you come home, and don't go, 'Ah, I'm gonna miss you guys.' Just go and then come back. That has helped a lot with the kids because they're cool with it. They sometimes may get upset when I'm only home for a day and leave the next day. The way we've handled it is just, 'It's Daddy's job.'"
Joe Nichols says he wants to teach his daughter, Ashelynn, respect. "Respect for men and respect from men. I think that's probably gonna be the most important influence I can have on her as she grows up," notes the Arkansas native. "If I show her respect and love, she will look for that in a man later on, rather than the opposite, and that's my job to show her that men are good and a man figure in your life can be loving and trusted. One day, she's gonna marry a good man."
Jake Owen says his dad was 100% behind him when he declared that he was ready to focus on music and move to Nashville. "It was something different, but at the same time, I was still just as devoted to that as I was golf," recalls Jake. "I'll never forget it ... that I called my parents on the phone and said, 'I've thought a lot about this. I've played five nights a week up here, and I think that I need to move to Nashville. My heart's telling me that, my gut instinct is telling me I need to go to Nashville, and I just feel like I'm not gonna further my career any down here unless I get up there.' Just the pure fact that I had enough courage and goals and worked that hard already, my dad didn't even hesitate. He just said, 'I'm totally behind you ... You go do it, man.'"
Now that Blake Shelton has put a ring on Miranda Lambert's finger, talk naturally turns to having kids. While Blake has thought about offspring, he doesn't quite know what kind of father he would make. "A lot of people ask if Miranda and I are thinking about having kids. I've thought about it some over the years, but not a lot," he says. "The one thing I know that people say to me that do have kids and people my age and even younger is, 'You can't prepare for it. You can't think about what it's gonna be like until the first time you hold your own baby or look at them. It just changes your life.' So, I'm not gonna sit here and tell you what kind of father I would be. I mean, I know what I would expect from a guy I know who's had a kid, and how I would stand back and judge them on things that they'd probably do and hope that I'd make the decisions I'd expect them to make a long the way. But honestly, that's hard for me to say. I definitely wouldn't want to do it until I knew that I was 200% ready to devote my life to raising a kid, for sure."
Sara Evans recites her father's qualities. "With my dad, it's always hanging out, having coffee, eating and just talking," she says. "He's very kind. He's really, really honest, and really smart, and he's a very hard worker. My dad has been working since he was 18 without a break."
Before he moved to Nashville to try to get a record deal, Josh Thompson worked in the concrete business, like his Dad and many of his family, and the work ethic he learned shoveling concrete shows up in his music today. "The family -- Dad, Grandpa, uncles, cousins -- everybody's in the concrete business. So, as soon as I could pick up a shovel, I was doing that," recalls Josh. "As soon as I got out of high school by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin, I jumped on a concrete crew and was working full time. That's pretty much where my influence on all the blue collar themes that I have in my music comes from."
Montgomery Gentry's Troy Gentry also worked for his father. "It was a lot of fun. It was all my dad ever knew," says Troy. "He started out when he was I think in his early 20s with his first chicken restaurant. I didn't know anything else but the restaurant business up until the last 15 or 20 years when he got into the bar business. I got in there, would bartend and help wait tables and work in the kitchen. Throughout the summers, and nights I wasn't playing music, I was in the club helping Dad out."
Jack Ingram travels around most of the year performing for his loyal fans. Whether he is on the road or at home, he makes sure to talk to his kids as much as possible. "Having three kids and being involved with their life on as much of a day-to-day basis as I can be, it creates much more of an atmosphere in my life of -- music and this music business is what I do, and my family is who I am, and that's really what it's done for me," says the Texas native. "It's created a grand divide and given me levity. This is fun and I love doing it, and it's important because it provides for my family. That's my life, those kids and my wife, that's who I am."