August 29, 2011 12:00 PM

Nestled in a ranch house set in the middle of a 2,400-acre pasture in Stephenville, Texas, a cozy little family of three is savoring some quality bonding time. “I’m a haaaaandsome boy,” coos retired rodeo star Ty Murray in a tiny voice as he gently bounces his newborn son Kase in his arms. Nearby, singer Jewel settles into their living room sofa and smiles at her husband of three years and her little guy of just three weeks. “Everything’s new,” she says. “The love you feel for the baby is a life-altering experience. Seeing my husband be such a good dad is also a nice added bonus.”

Kase Townes Murray made his debut on July 11, weighing in at 7 lbs., 6 oz. “We have parent goggles; we think he’s perfect,” says the new mom, whose son’s name came from one of Ty’s best friends and one of Jewel’s favorite singer-songwriters, Townes Van Zandt. “He’s mellow and chill.”

The same could not be said for her pregnancy: When Jewel, 37, was six months along, she was involved in a car accident that left her vehicle “completely totalled,” recalls the singer, who came out unscathed along with the baby. Then, during a checkup one week after her original due date, doctors discovered the baby’s heart rate had dropped, and Jewel was driven directly to the ER to give birth via C-section. “I studied hypnobirthing and planned a natural childbirth,” says Jewel. “But I feel so lucky that we have a healthy baby boy. That’s all I cared about.” Ty, 45, feels just as blessed: “When he was born, I felt like somebody went to a cabinet, pulled out a perfect baby and handed him over. It’s overwhelming.”

Now, the Grammy-winning singer and her bull-riding husband-who also boot-scooted his way through Dancing with the Stars-are busy adjusting to their little man’s schedule. “One night he slept for eight hours,” boasts Ty. “It probably won’t happen again!” says Jewel. “Sometimes he gets up every hour, and sometimes he sleeps for longer stretches.” Either way, Ty gets up for late-night diaper duty before handing him off to Jewel for breast-feeding. “Neither of us wants to have a nanny,” says Jewel. “Ty wants his relationship with Kase to be special, and the time you put in is part of that.” For her part, the new mom wrote a new album-The Merry Goes ‘Round, available nationwide in September-with bouncy children’s songs in anticipation of the newest Murray. “I wrote and recorded that whole record while I was pregnant,” says Jewel, “so he got sung to a lot.”

The couple plan to raise Kase on their working ranch, where Ty-a fifth-generation cowboy-tends to cattle and horses. “I can’t wait until when Kase goes out there with me,” says Ty. But how long before Kase mounts a bull himself? “I don’t want him to ride,” admits Ty. “It is the most dangerous job in the world. But if he’s as crazy as I was about it, then what do you do? One of our biggest dreams for Kase is that he finds something he loves.” Adds Jewel: “We want him to find his passion. Whatever that is, we are fine with it.” She pauses, then laughs. “But I hope it isn’t bull-riding.”

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