I wrote an email to one of my favorite singer/songwriters yesterday, and it feels appropriate, given the upcoming holiday, to share it with you. Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers’ album Glassjaw Boxer was one of those rays of light that we sometimes see (or hear) at exactly the right time. He’s honest in his dealings with family and the pursuit of fame, with his questions, doubts, and hopes.
In his song Father’s Day, he sings to his daughter about the closeness of their family, as well as the distance created by his perennial absence. “You’re like your mom, little girl/ and believe me that’s the best thing in the world,” followed by “I will always always love you, no matter what you do/ and when you’re growing up without me I will always be with you.”
Even though I don’t have any kids, these themes cut right in. And I think it’s because they help me to feel that I’m loved, especially when I, like all of us at times, struggle to believe it.
Here’s the letter I wrote to Stephen:
Hello Road Warriors!
This is Cameron Hood from folk/pop band Ryanhood.
A song, and then a brief story:
Last year, listening to the SK6ERS’ song Father’s Day while driving around in my car, I was struck with tears. I could feel for the first time what my dad had perhaps felt about me for so long.
All of the struggles he’s watched me undergo, the internal battle with self, the fight to hold onto hope, the wondering when life evens out, if ever. And always with him saying, “I will always always love you, no matter what you do.”
I didn’t quite crash my car, but I was highly moved.
I knew, at that moment, that the following Father’s Day I wanted to record a version for him, as if from his point of view, to me (hence the title of my cover, “Boy’s Life Version”). The regret over the broken home, and the constant love of a dad for a boy who was, in fact, born in the spring.
As a songwriter, I always want to know when my words and melodies have moved folks. In that spirit, I share my cover with you. Thank you, Stephen, for going to those places, lyrically and emotionally. You model for the rest of us what honesty can look like in real life.
ps… I tried to keep the SK twang out of my voice, but I think maybe it crept in just a little :)
I’m aware that so many of us have not had dads who loved and supported us, or who were even there at all. And so a song like this may bring a different kind of tears. The theme though is still the same: What happens when we learn to see ourselves through the eyes of one who love us? I hope we’ve all been loved once or twice in our lives well enough to see our goodness mirrored back to us. To feel that someone could know us, and yet still love us.
The hard part is learning to see all the good in us, with our own eyes (or ears).