Stepdads: The Dads Who Didn’t Have To Be


Country music is full of songs about dads. Whether you had a good one or a bad one, or one that named you Sue, you can bet that there’s a country song out there that hits home about your old man. For this Father’s Day weekend post, instead of focusing on country songs about dads, I wanted to look at songs about stepdads as Father’s Day is their day too.

First on my list is Brad Paisley’s “He Didn’t Have to Be.” The song starts off from the perspective of a five-year-old boy whose single mom, after what I can assume were many failed dates, finally finds a man who didn’t “turn around and run” after finding out that she had a son. This man goes on to marry the boy’s mom and becomes his stepdad, filling in that missing piece that finally made them a family. As is evident in the song and the video, this man eventually becomes less like a stepdad and more like a “real” dad to this boy. Later on that boy grows up and becomes a father himself with his stepdad by his side during this major life event. In the video, you see the two of them looking through the glass of the nursery window together after his child is born. As he thinks about the kind of dad that he wants to be to his newborn child, his stepfather serves as a perfect model to emulate. As Brad sings in the chorus: “I hope I’m at least half the dad that he didn’t have to be.” 

The video for this song always makes me tear up. If you plan on watching it, please make sure you have tissues handy and are in a place where crying is acceptable.

 

Another great song about stepdads is Fishin’ With My Dadby Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots. If you listen to country music on your morning commute like me, then you’re probably familiar with The Bobby Bones Show. And if your commute involves driving the capital beltway like mine does, then you get to spend A LOT of time with Bobby and the gang. Last year, Bobby and Eddie (another member of the show) released an album for their band, “The Raging Idiots” titled, The Critics Give It 5 Stars. They’re primarily a parody band known for remaking today’s hit country songs, for example, they parodied Thomas Rhett’s “Die A Happy Man” with “Drive A Mini Van.” With that being said, most of the songs on this album are silly- like there’s a song about Starbucks and a Netflix love song on there. There was, however, one sentimental song that managed to make the album’s cut- that song is “Fishin’ With My Dad,” an autobiographical song written by Bobby. He even got Garth Brooks (the G.O.A.T.) to sing backup on this song! The first time I heard Bobby play this song on the radio I was driving to work and of course I started crying (are you noticing a trend here?) I even tweeted at Bobby that morning to let him know that he made me cry and he retweeted me (photographic evidence provided below if you don’t believe me)!

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I was already familiar with the backstory of Bobby’s relationship with his stepdad, Keith. He’d talked about Keith on the show before (even calling him one morning and having him on the air) and I had just recently finished reading his autobiography, Bare Bones: I’m Not Lonely If You’re Reading This Book, in which he wrote about Keith. The song is about Bobby being ten years old and wishing he had a dad to take him fishing. The line that pulls on my heartstrings the most is when he talks about this at the beginning of the song saying, “it’s hard doing anything with someone you don’t have, so how could I go fishing with my dad?” Bobby eventually gains a stepdad when his mom marries a “good man in the summer of ’93.” Bobby wasn’t too sure how his new stepdad felt about him at first. That is until he woke Bobby up one morning to take him fishing and Bobby’s dream of finally getting to go fishing with his dad came true. As Bobby wrote in Bare Bones, “I had fantasized about fishing with my dad, but when the time came to do the real thing I found it pretty darn boring. It didn’t matter, though. Anytime Keith asked if I wanted to go fishing, I said yes, because I just wanted that father-son experience” (page 23).

An important takeaway from this song is found in the line: “We didn’t share a last name but we shared a lot of laughs.” The message here is that biology and sharing a last name doesn’t make you a dad (or even a mom). What makes someone a dad is taking the time to be present in your child’s life and letting them know that you care. It’s looking through the nursery window with your child when they too become a parent and it’s waking them up early to take them fishing. That’s what it means to be a dad. I’m so glad that Bobby finally got to go fishing with his!

Below is the acoustic video of Bobby and Eddie singing this song. The version of this song that appears on his album and features Garth Brooks can be found here (it’s just a lyric video though and I prefer actually getting to see Bobby sing.)

 

Okay, so these are the only two country songs I could think of about stepdads, but there should be more! I dedicate this post to all you dads, stepdads, and moms playing both roles- Happy Father’s Day! And a very happy Father’s Day to my own stepdad!

Currently listening to: Johnny Cash- “Boy Named Sue

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