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Fathers & Sons


Release Date

Record Label



Caleb Gottry

Album Review

Luke Combs’s newest album, released days before Father’s Day, is aptly named.

In 12 songs, Combs explores what it looks like to be a good father. Drawing from his relationship with his own father and his two sons, he hits the nail on the head. The lyrics here are personal, emotional and sometimes spiritual. Stylistically, the simplicity of Combs classic-country sound just serves to highlight his lyrical vulnerability even more.

Positive Content

The album opens with “Front Door Famous,” where we get a glimpse into Combs’s perspective on his fame. But as great as celebrity might be, he admits it’s no match for being his family’s hero: “In a heartbeat, man, I’d trade it, ‘cause it ain’t got nothin’ on being front door famous.”

Clearly coming back home to his sons greeting him with open arms (and the more difficult part of leaving them looking out the window) is something Combs thinks about a lot. Seven songs later, he sings, “I hope he don’t think all I ever do is leave.” There, he also sings about his own father, who kept the lights on and filled the house with love, even though he had to leave for work every day.

“Remember Him That Way” and “The Man He Sees in Me” are similarly linked together as they reflect on memories of Combs’ father. In the former, he sings, “I remember him 10 feet tall and bulletproof,” an ode to his father’s strength and to the heroic qualities Combs still sees him as. And in the latter song, Combs is deeply aware that his sons view him the same way; he hopes he can “finally be the man he sees in me.” Perhaps more importantly, Combs hopes that by the time his sons grow up and “find out that I didn’t hang the moon,” they are trying to be that heroic father for their sons.

This generational idea is paralleled in Combs’s relationship with his own father in “My Old Man Was Right.” There, Combs admits that he learned lessons the hard way because he didn’t listen to his father’s warnings. Knowing that his father was right, he sings that “every lesson that he taught me, I hope I teach them.”

Combs clearly cares about his sons’ futures, too. He tells them how to pay the bills and how to start the tractor in “In Case I Ain’t Around.” That song also implores them to keep going to church and having family lunches, singing “When it’s my time to die, boy, don’t stop livin’.”

“In Case I Ain’t Around” isn’t the only song he contemplates not being in his sons’ lives anymore. Combs seems convinced in “Huntin’ by Yourself” that each son will get to the point where “he’ll have a lot less time for his old man.” He uses hunting with his boys to illustrate the importance of spending quality time with your kids while you are a big part of their life, no matter how much they “wear your patience thin.”

In “Whoever You Turn Out to Be,” Combs encourages his sons that they “ain’t gotta change the world to make your daddy proud.” In this fifth song on the album, we get our first good look at Combs’s own trust in God: “Yeah, I used to love to sling that dirt up down them rural routes, but God might have a different map-dot plan for you mapped out.”

In “Little Country Boys,” he sings that he “ain’t got a choice but to love ‘em and let ‘em be,” perhaps indicating that there comes a time that every father has to give his children space to spread their own wings.

In “Plant a Seed,” Combs talks more spiritually about pouring into his sons while he still can. He sings that “true love and the Gospel might take a while to blossom,” but that if he can just plant those seeds, he can “let God be the farmer” and watch those seeds grow.

Following that, Combs sings about his grandfather, fondly remembering him in a hopeful and spiritual song entitled “Ride Around Heaven.”

The album ends with “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” the only song here that’s not directly biographical. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” though cleverly written, does tell the story of divorced parents, though not Combs’s own. It reveals some of the more painful realities of a broken home as this young boy believes it to be his fault and doesn’t understand why he has to keep switching parents every other weekend. The hook is the heartbreaking question: “I guess maybe things are different now, but Daddy, can’t you still take me out to the ballgame?”

In “Huntin’ by Yourself” and “My Old Man Was Right,” Combs seems to suggest that boys will eventually begin to notice girls and respond by pursuing them—which can lead to some tough lessons: “Chasin’ girls is gonna be all he’ll wanna do” and “that breaking, it’s just part of life.”

Content Concerns

Some songs talk reference Combs’ father smoking and drinking (though not abusively so). We also hear about how his grandfather had “Beech-Nut in his jaw.” Combs admits to taking “a drag of a half-smoked Marlboro Light.”

Even though Combs sings that his sons sometimes will make him curse in impatience, the album’s profanities are limited to three instances of “h—.”

Album Summary

If this album revealed anything about Combs’s personal life, it’s that he’s a family man. His eldest son was born in 2022 and his second son in 2023, so he has a lot of fatherhood left. But his goals are clear… and they’re good ones for any father-child relationship.

Combs, nor his dad, are the perfect example of a father. While he tries his best, “that ‘S’ on his chest” will start to fade and there will always be mistakes that could’ve been avoided. After all, there is only one perfect father.

Combs does, however, paint the picture of a faithful father: one who sacrifices for his sons, plants Godly seeds and is humble to take the example of his own father to heart and action.

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Caleb Gottry

Caleb Gottry is the Plugged In intern for Summer 2024. Caleb studies journalism with a minor in music at Texas Christian University, where he will be a junior in the fall. He loves playing with words, listening to and making music, and spending any spare time with friends or family.