Happy (Early) Father’s Day. Love, Keller

by Keller // David & Keller

Ever notice how people always tell their mom “hello” when a TV camera focuses on them at those things we used to have called sporting events? They almost never mention fathers.

That might be explained by the fact that there are many single-parent households out there, and women are usually the ones raising kids. There are plenty of stats that support that theory. In fact, one in four kids in America lives without a father in the home. But I think it also has something to do with the traditional roles parents play. Moms feed, comfort and generally nurture. Dads teach you how to counterfeit money, remove serial numbers from firearms and run out on a tab. Wait. Was that not your experience?

“Never speak to me or my son again.”

OK. It wasn’t mine either. My dad was — and is — a great dad. Like many men born into the Baby Boomer Generation, he brought home the bacon (and the Sugar-n-Spice) and taught his kids how to ride a bike and throw a ball. But he did a lot more than that. He’s the reason we have a radio show. I mean, David is the technical reason, but my appreciation for music comes from my dad. He still plays live music and he still teaches guitar. I thought it would be cool to be different so I never picked up the guitar. Turns out there are many cooler ways to be different. Rat-tails come to mind. For sure, not learning to play the guitar from my guitar-teacher father is a regret. But I don’t regret much else. Instead of playing music, I listened to it. A lot. To the tapes his students would leave behind, to the songs his band was learning and to pretty much anything I could get my hands on. It was pretty easy in our house, and I am thankful for that.

Now that I’m a father myself, I realize how important the role is and how challenging it can be. I also realize that it’s more fulfilling and rewarding than I ever imagined. It’s the greatest job I’ve had — by far — and I’ve had more jobs than you can swing a dead cat at or whatever the saying is. But there is no instruction manual for being a dad. So, usually, you just do what your own father did. Unless he was one of those dads who went out to get milk and never came back. You don’t do that.

If you’re wondering why I’m talking about dads so much, it’s because Father’s Day is Sunday. It’s, ahem, finally here, folks. It’s a special day, no doubt. But, truthfully, I wanted an easy theme to create a playlist around. I thought it would be easier than it proved to be.

We’ve done a Mother’s Day show, which was a breeze to put together. As mentioned earlier, moms get all the love. They get all the songs, too. Dads, ah, they get a tie if they’re lucky.

The one genre that is an exception is country music — particularly popular country from the 90s onward. They love their dads. But they have some romanticized concept of fathers. The fathers, of course, all drive trucks. Sadly, there are no country songs about an awesome dad who drives a Chrysler LeBaron. These dads can handle themselves in a fight, too. And they will strike you across the face if you mistreat their daughter, which includes looking at her funny. They work hard, definitely a job with their hands, and they pray even harder. These are not real people. These are caricatures.

When it comes to soul music, fathers, by and large, are portrayed a bit differently. Perhaps those dads are too real, though. They beat the shit out of you if you do “wrong.” They abandon you. And they cuss. Seriously. Gladys Knight has a song that basically celebrates her dad’s ability to cuss. Like he sucks at pretty much everything else but, man, he sure could swear! For James Brown and for the Pips, the bar was pretty damn low.

Despite those aforementioned hits, finding enough songs about dads that I’d actually want to play for Father’s Day was harder than I thought. So, as we do with many of our themes, we defer to song titles regardless of content. For that reason, you’ll hear some songs that talk about a “daddy” or some other synonym for “dad,” but those songs aren’t using it in the fatherhood sense. It’s more like in the PornHub sense. I was going to include “Father Figure,” which is a brilliant song, by the way, but it sounded a bit too polished next to the other songs and I felt I could only include so many songs on my Father’s Day playlist that were clearly about sex.

Speaking of sex, my dad is still a big part of my life. I know David’s is still a big part of his. I’m grateful for that. I think it’s fair to say David is, as well.

I guess the point of all of this is to recommend that you fathers out there come home with the milk. And to tell you kids out there to wave and yell “hi” to your dad if the camera picks you up at the next Gamecock tailgate in 2028. David and I sure will. And then we’ll call our moms to talk all about it.

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