And if you’re at all worried that dad won’t appreciate the 6-pack of Jack and Coke or the “#1 Dad” coffee mug you so thoughtfully picked out for him this year, perhaps you could pull on his heartstrings a little bit with a ’90s-style Father’s Day Mixtape.
There is a myriad of country songs about dads.
Something about the themes of simpler times, heartbreak, and heavy drinking always bring us back to dad. So, take a scroll through my list of country dad songs to get you started.
In fact, try playing it for your old man after he’s a few bourbons deep on Sunday afternoon. You might just squeeze a few tears out of even the toughest dad.
“Drive (for Daddy Gene)” – Alan Jackson
If there’s a GOAT of dad songs, it’s got to be this one. AJ paints not one but three pictures of dad giving his kid the life-altering experience of driving for the first time.
It’s tough to describe the father-child bond more joyfully than Alan Jackson does.
“Even Though I’m Leaving” – Luke Combs
Combs likes to preface this song at his live shows by saying that he never really knows what a song will mean to someone else when he writes it. This tear-jerker follows a father-child relationship through several phases of life, and dad is always there to address his kid’s fears. Beer never broke Luke’s heart, but this song might just break dad’s.
“My Boy” – Elvie Shane
Shane put himself on the country music map with this hit about what it’s like to be an all-in stepdad. And anybody with a pulse, step-parent or not, can feel this one. (Is dad crying yet?)
“A Boy Named Sue” – Johnny Cash
I won’t spoil Johnny’s classic story about a deadbeat dad. It’ll make you laugh, warm your heart, and open your mind to the multitude of parenting techniques that are out there in this broken world.
“The Best Day” – George Strait
“Dad, this could be the best day of my life” sings King George as he describes a few perfect days between father and son. Funny, I usually hear things like “Dad, I HATE you” when I do stuff with my kids. But I’ll trust the King on this one: that best day for me and my kids is out there, somewhere….
“Steak Night at the Prairie Rose” – Mike and the Moonpies
The Texas natives spin an emotional story about the simple yet indelible memories with dad that stick with you. Everyone has their version of “Steak Night at the Prairie Rose.”
For me, it was “Western Bacon Cheeseburger at the Carl’s Jr,” which doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but is a great memory, nonetheless.
“He Walked on Water” – Randy Travis
Father’s Day is for grandfathers and great-grandfathers too. And all-time country heartbreaker, Randy Travis, made sure not to forget them with this single from 1990. Grab the tissues, dad… and grandpa.
“He’s Mine” – Rodney Atkins
Atkins brings us an anthem about having your kid’s back even when he screws up. It’s unconditional love with a couple of middle fingers to the sky. And while this one might not make dad cry, it’ll fire him up.
“Sinners Like Me” – Eric Church
One of the joys (and horrors) of fatherhood is when you start to see yourself in your kids, and when you realize your dad saw those same things in himself. Eric Church beautifully lays out the concept of inherited traits so dads can view them with pride.
“Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore” – Chris Stapleton
Stapleton walks us through the lasting image of Daddy as only Stapleton can, weaving an emotional, deep story around the single image of a father bowing his head to pray. Powerful stuff. (Is dad still keeping it together?)
“Thinking of You” – Dierks Bentley
Dierks was clearly in a life transition when he recorded his “Home” album, ending a record full of party bro anthems like “Am I the Only One” and “Tip It on Back” and “5-1-5-0” with a love letter. The big reveal happens at the end of the song when Dierks’ daughter, Evie, starts singing the last verse on the track, revealing that it’s a letter to his daughters.
“That’s My Job” – Conway Twitty
This single, released late in Twitty’s career, describes the selfless dad, always there to prop you up and support you when you’re down or unsure of the path ahead. Dad has lots of jobs these days… except for cleaning your room (that’s on YOU, son).
“The Dollar” – Jamey Johnson
Jamey Johnson’s debut single back in 2005 came straight from the heart of a working dad. Any dad who’s ever missed time with their kids because they were “chasing that dollar” will be effectively guilt-tripped by this one.
“Love Without End, Amen” – George Strait
If dad’s not crying yet, top off his glass of bourbon, tell him you love him, and hit him with one last dose of King George. And if that doesn’t work, start from the top and keep pouring. He’ll get there.
And if you’re a dad yourself, as King George would say, “let me tell you a secret:” you’re a great dad.
Now wipe away those tears and have a happy Father’s Day.