So when he heard a song on the radio about losing someone you love, he knew that he had to reach out to the guy singing it.
The song was Cole Swindell‘s “You Should Be Here,” and it’s one that was deeply personal to Cole when he wrote it after the sudden death of his own father.
Cole joined Dale for an episode of The Dale Jr. Download podcast, and they talked about how the song moved Dale Jr. to reach out to Cole – even though they had never met before.
According to Dale:
“When I first heard it, you immediately connect the comparisons – he lost his dad, I lost my dad. He wrote the song about that, it absolutely word for word fits anyone who’s ever lost their dad, that song just plugs right into all the emotions.
I think even after all these years – you keep doing things in life, you keep having these milestones and these things happen and these people you meet that come into your life and you want your dad to know ’em, meet ’em, see ’em, experience it…
And so all the time that song remains relevant.”
And after the first few times Dale heard the song, he said he knew he “had to tell him” what his song meant to him – and he didn’t really care how Cole reacted.
“I didn’t care whether he was gonna receive that well or not, I was just like ‘This is hitting me hard and I need this man that wrote this song to know.’
So I reached out and he was like ‘Damn right, that’s exactly why I wrote it.'”
Dale also admitted that part of the reason he wanted to reach out to Cole was to offer him any advice he could give from his experience losing his own dad:
“I wanted to give you advice.
I didn’t know how to, but I felt like if you needed some holes closed up in the search for some sort of closure, I was like ‘Man I really could help him.'”
For his part, Cole has always been a big NASCAR fan and says that his own dad was a big fan of Dale Earnhardt Sr.
So when he heard from Dale Jr. out of the blue about one of his songs because of the connection Dale Jr. felt to his own dad, Cole said that was one of the coolest moments of his career:
“For you to reach out, me being a huge fan – that was one of the coolest things of my career is Dale reaching out to me, and knowing that he’s reaching out because of his dad, which my dad was a fan of and I’m a fan of.
And it’s just stuff like that, you can’t make that up. That’s as real as it gets.”
The power of country music, man.
Dale and Cole talked a lot about country music in this episode, and Dale also revealed his favorite bar in Nashville (it was Paradise Park, RIP), so the whole episode is worth a listen.