OFFSTAGE: Top 10 Fatherhood Moments in Recent Country Music History

Every man is someone’s son. That much, we know. But when those sons become fathers? It’s too sweet for words. Especially in country music, where we occasionally get a glimpse of both sides of those men. These are some of the little slices of fatherhood I saw in the past year or so that made me feel like I was living inside a Hallmark card.

1. Watching the videos of Dierks Bentley bring his pig-tailed daughter Evie, 3, up onto the Ryman stage to help him sing “Thinking of You.”

2. Seeing countless pictures of Keith Urban toting his baby girls Sunday Rose and Faith Margaret through airports, just like a regular dad.

3. Hearing Kip Moore tell me that it was the night he borrowed his dad’s old Chevy Silverado for a date that inspired his debut hit song “Somethin’ ’Bout a Truck.” When he got home, he recalled, “I tossed the keys to my dad and said, ’Damn, Pa, there’s somethin’ ’bout a truck.'”

4. Having Eric Church explain to me how automatically his life changed when his son, Boone McCoy, was born. “Then all of the sudden, one day later, here’s this life,” he said.

5. Knowing how much Chris Young looks up to his stepfather. He told me he’s the inspiration behind so many of his love songs. “He is the total, ultimate man. The dude trumps me all the time. I can’t top some of the stuff he’s done,” Young said.

6. Hearing Carrie Underwood tell Oprah Winfrey that when the time is right to start a family, she knows her husband Mike Fisher will be the “best dad ever.”

7. Listening to Brad Paisley’s dad Doug tell me what a good father Brad has become. (And tearing up, still, when I hear Brad’s son Huck sing “me” at the very end of “Anything Like Me.”)

8. Seeing Joe Nichols finally become a father to a healthy, happy baby girl (Dylan River) after watching his wife suffer through five miscarriages.

9. Blake Shelton sincerely thanking his fans for their prayers when his father died earlier this year.

10. Tearing up when Dierks Bentley posted that moving photo of his hand intertwined with his dad’s hand. When he lost his father last month, that picture captured the very heart of holding on and letting go.