Born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, Kix Brooks first picked up a guitar at age 12, then continued performing in clubs and at other venues throughout high school. Beer joints weren’t reverential temples to high honky tonk, but more combustive places where the performers onstage were just an extension of the party. “People didn’t come to dance so much as to raise hell and have a good time,” Brooks recalls. “It was about having fun … we played everything from Hank Sr. and Johnny Horton to Frank Zappa songs. Sometimes I’d get to open for folks like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band or Asleep At The Wheel.”
Before venturing off to chase his dreams, Brooks spent a few summers in Alaska working for his father on the pipeline. Returning to Louisiana Tech, he earned a degree in theatre arts. From Louisiana, Brooks made his way to Maine to work for his sister and brother-in-law’s advertising company writing radio ads. The pull of music soon proved too hard to resist, and Brooks began performing in coffee shops and bars throughout the area.
After journeyman bar-storming in the northeast, and then on New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, he eventually landed in Nashville, where he joined Tree Publishing Company. Shortly thereafter, artists like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, John Conlee and Highway 101 all scored #1’s with Brooks’ songs. Success as a songwriter led to a solo record deal for Brooks, signing with Capitol records in 1989, this album included the song “Sacred Ground,” later a hit for McBride and the Ride. Though his solo project didn’t launch his career as a recording artist, that success was waiting just around the corner.
The following year, in 1990, Brooks teamed with Ronnie Dunn to form Brooks & Dunn. The pair has gone on to become the highest selling duo in the history of country music, selling more than 30 million records. They have also won more than 75 major industry awards, scored 23 #1 hit singles, and in 2008, they set a new record with their 41st top 10 single, breaking a tie with Alabama as the duo or group with the most Top 10 country singles in the 19-year history of Nielsen BDS-monitored airplay.
Never one to let the grass grow under his feet, Brooks ventured into the world of radio in 2006 when he took over the hosting reins of the long-running syndicated radio program, American Country Countdown. Recently notching his third year in that chair, Brooks reflected on his reason for joining ACC as host, “I really enjoy what I do for a living. I love this business. I love the characters and personalities in this business. At the end of the day, whether songwriting or hosting American Country Countdown, it’s all about sharing those stories.”
Brooks served as President, in 2004, and Chairman, in 2005, of the Country Music Association (CMA). He remains an active board member of the CMA and served as part of the Blue Ribbon Committee, a select group of professionals including the mayor, chosen to bring the city of Nashville and the Music Industry closer together. Brooks is also on the board of Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, and previously served on the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau. He is the local spokesperson for Monroe Harding Children’s Home and is a founding partner of Arrington Vineyards in Arrington, TN. Kix and his wife Barbara have been married since 1981 and have two adult children - Molly & Eric.