Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Paul Overstreet, “Seein’ My Father in Me”

“Seein’ My Father in Me”

Paul Overstreet

Written by Taylor Dunn and Paul Overstreet

Radio & Records 

#1 (1 week)

March 9, 1990

For a few years, an unassuming songwriter became a chart-topping country artist.

The Road to No. 1

Paul Overstreet could’ve never sung a note and he still would’ve been an essential figure in country music during the mid-to-late eighties.  He’d eventually pen more than two dozen top ten country hits, but his most important songs came along early:  “On the Other Hand” and “Forever and Ever, Amen” (Randy Travis), “When You Say Nothing at All” (Keith Whitley), and “I Won’t Take Less Than Your Love” (Tanya Tucker).

That last record featured Overstreet as a guest vocalist, and its chart-topping success jumpstarted a solo career that had derailed after one album in 1982.  Overstreet tested the waters as part of the trio Schuyler, Knobloch & Overstreet, which topped the charts with “Baby’s Got a New Baby” before Overstreet departed to focus on his solo efforts.

In 1988, his second solo album, Sowin’ Love, produced five hit singles that all charted in the top ten, the final of which reached the top of the Radio & Records chart in early 1990.

The No. 1

It’s hard to listen to “Seein’ My Father in Me” and not imagine Randy Travis singing it.  It plays like a demo recorded for him, right down to Overstreet’s twangy stretching of the notes that mimics a Travis vocal.

It also has that sweet family-friendly innocence of Overstreet’s material, where parents are loving and dedicated and husbands eternally loyal. “Seein’ My Father in Me” is as gentle and pure a celebration of fatherhood as has ever been written, and along with its touching video, it represented changing views of masculinity and the new normal of fathers being loving, affectionate, and gentle with their children.

The Road From No. 1

Overstreet would keep the momentum going with his next single, which will be covered in this feature soon.

“Seein’ My Father in Me” gets a B+. 

 

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

Previous: Patty Loveless, “Chains”

Next: Randy Travis, “Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart”

8 Comments

  1. He’s not a great vocalist, but there is a certain charm to Overstreet’s singing. His wry sense of humor really is evident in his live performances, so I tend to enjoy him more seeing him in person than in listening to his recordings

  2. “It’s hard to listen to ‘Seein’ My Father in Me’ and not imagine Randy Travis singing it.”

    Not hard for me. Until now, I never once imagined that, and I’ve heard the song quite a bit on Houston’s Country Legends 97.1.

    @Tom P
    Funny – I, too, was worried that this series meant the Sirius list had been stalled!

  3. Paul is definitely one of my favorite singer/songwriters from the 80’s and early 90’s. Besides all the classics he wrote during that period, I also really enjoy all three of the RCA albums he released as a recording artist. S-K-O’s “You Can’t Stop Love” featuring Overstreet singing lead is one of my childhood favorites, as well. Personally, I’ve always really enjoyed his singing, and as Paul Dennis said, there’s definitely a certain charm to his vocals that really suited his overall laid back style.

    As for this song, it’s always been one of my favorites, and it’s one I could never get tired of no matter how many times I hear it. I especially learned to appreciate it more as I got older and began to see many of the similarities between my dad and I. I can definitely picture Randy Travis singing it, but to me it also sounds like something that Don Williams could’ve cut, too. Speaking of that, I was a bit surprised to see that Don never recorded any of Overstreet’s songs, as I always found both of their styles to be similar.

  4. I’ve always been a Paul Overstreet fan, including of his unassuming voice. This isn’t my favorite of his songs, but it’s still a
    good one.

    Good point about Don Williams, Jamie!

  5. good song – made me think of Keith Urban’s Song for Dad
    My favorite Overstreet song is still Heroes – just came from my grandson’s little league game

  6. Jaime beat me to the Overstreet-Don Williams connection!

    I think Overstreet was to Don Williams as Steve Wariner was to Vince Gill.

    I think this kind of material reaching number one speaks to the insane depth and diversity of the 90’s country field.

    It was that depth of sound and style from the artists, chart topping and otherwise, that made 90’s country so spectacularly interesting to listen to.

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