Kix Brooks enjoyed a colorful childhood that eventually included four years at military school before heading to Louisiana Tech University as a theater arts major. He was closer to 30 years old before he arrived in Nashville and scored a songwriting gig for Tree Publishing.

During college, the man born Leon Brooks spent some time working for his father on an oil pipeline in Alaska, and then moved to Maine to write advertising. In 1983, he recorded a single that flopped and then released his debut album in 1989. Ultimately, he wouldn't find success until being teamed with Ronnie Dunn to form Brooks and Dunn.