Sad, degenerate country songs start to sound likelullabies. Drinking anthems start to sound like the soundtrack to a bygone era that will never return.
And the stories behind the lyrics start taking on new meanings in the midst of the crying and the screaming that surrounds you.
Dad life is great, don’t get me wrong. But when you’re a dad, you need country music more than ever to help keep your sanity.
Here are ten selections that will walk alongside you as you grow into the epic dad that you never thought you’d be mature enough to become.
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 perhaps the chorus in Kenny Chesney’s hit single may have been your initial reaction to becoming a father. Priorities and activities and perhaps even your life’s trajectory changes when kids enter the scene.
In the music video for this one, the kid turns into Amber Heard, so you never really know where your fatherhood path could lead one day. Thoughts and prayers, my guy.
Where the Green Grass Grows – Tim McGraw
At a certain point, you settle into the reality of fatherhood. And first thing’s first, you’ve got to start putting food on the table for all those extra mouths.
Tim paints an all-too-familiar picture of the working man’s grind here. You might have impossible dreams of raising your kids out on a peaceful farm. But you’d bet your ass that the green grass also grows in your impeccably maintained front yard.
Dad life’s not so bad after a few lawn mowing beers, so maybe you could get used to this.
Every Light in the House is On – Trace Adkins
When you’re a dad, you develop a superhuman ability to sense when electricity is being wasted.
Even though Trace Adkins’ behavior would never fly in my house, the chorus rings with the type of hyperbole that is perfect for yelling at your kids:
“Every light in the house is on The backyard’s bright as the crack of dawn The front walk looks like runway lights It’s kinda like noon in the dead of night”
Turn off the damn lights when you leave the room…
Things Have Gone to Pieces – George Jones
Oh great, now the house is falling apart. And who gets to fix the leaky faucet, re-hang the picture that fell down, and replace the light bulb in the hallway?
Dad of course, like he’s got nothing better to do! Somebody get me a changing-the-light-bulb beer, would ya?
“Housewife’s Prayer” – Pistol Annies
“I’ve been thinking about Setting my house on fire…”
I’m losing it here. This song might be about housewives, but men are taking on more and more household and childcare responsibilities these days.
This song’s 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
Now here’s an anthem I can really get behind. These kids keep asking for snacks and more Blippi and “Where’s my iPad” and…. I can’t take it anymore.
“Here’s a quarter, son….” If only that made any sense to this kid whose cell phone bill I pay for….
When You Say Nothing at All – Keith Whitley
It’s so loud in this house right now… if these kids would just shut the hell up so I could think…
Dads know that demanding quiet from a screaming kid only invites louder screaming from them and higher blood pressure for you. Maybe if you can channel Keith Whitley, you’ll finally have some peace. Kids, “you say it best, when you say nothing at all.”
Unlikely, but it’s worth a shot.
I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink – Merle Haggard
Speaking of shots, you don’t go to bars anymore, Dad. Any shots you’re getting are poured by you and slammed back after the kids are in bed.
In case anyone asks if you’re free for a night out on the town, Merle tells you how to answer: “I think I’ll just stay here and drink.”
Might as Well Get Stoned – Chris Stapleton
While you’re at it, if it’s legal in your state, why not? Kids are down, wife’s here to handle emergencies (thanks, Honey), and the whiskey’s gone thanks to all those shots you did listening to Merle.
Drive (for Daddy Gene) – Alan Jackson
Now that you’re drunk and high, it’s time to pull on the heart strings. It’s tough being a dad. But every year, you build a new memory just like the ones AJ describes in his classic dad song.
Is this the GOAT of dad songs, by the way? The 20-something bro who was weeping next to me at the Alan Jackson show back in 2015 sure thought so.
Now excuse me while I go flip through photos of my boys and cry into my Busch Light nightcap.