As someone who enjoys a relationship with a warm father who’s always been quick with support and affirmation, it’s a testament to a good song that I can feel an emotional connection to Bucky Covington’s latest single, “A Father’s Love (the Only Way He Knew How)”, which depicts a father with less demonstrative sensibilities than mine.
The song’s narrator describes his father’s penchant for showing his love by doing rather than saying. Instead of having a “heart to heart talk” before his son leaves for college, he does some last minute maintenance on the car that will be taking him there. Likewise, rather than telling his son that he likes his first, new home, he immediately pulls out the tool box in order to fix what he can in the house.
While the son would have appreciated some affection or words of affirmation, he learned to understand that his father demonstrated his love by verbs rather than adjectives: “I didn’t hear it then, but I hear it now/He was sayin’, ‘I love you’ the only way he knew how.”
With a pleasant production that does not shy away from the steel guitar, Covington’s performance is both believable and emotive. Moreover, “A Father’s Love” proves that a song that neatly fits into the mainstream’s typical song structure is also capable of feeling authentic instead of calculated. Furthermore, it is sweet without being overtly cloying thanks to a moral payoff that is employed in such a way that the song does not jump the shark to reach for a manufactured happy ending.
It can be done.
Written by Liz Hengber, Thom Shepherd & Steve Williams