The Underdog.

Growing up I thought the Beach Boy’s hit Kokomo was about Kokomo Grains. You know, the one in Indiana. That song was followed by Aaron Tippin’s There Ain't Nothin' Wrong With The Radio, which was followed by Hal Ketchum’s Small Town Town Saturday Night. Add in Conway, Prince, Whitney, Ian, Michael, Suzy, George and Garth and you’ve created the foundation that is my support structure for all things creative in my life.

Music is intertwined into every memory – past, present, future – of my life. 

Because of this, I’ve learned to trust those behind the fm channels. They’re playing the best songs – as voiced by the people. Or are they?

I’m not saying there’s a conspiracy happening in Nashville, but I’m not saying something fishy isn’t happening. Aaron Watson debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard’s Top Country Albums, but isn’t given airtime on local radio? 

Quick. Someone grab the DeLorean and tell Loretta Lynn if she were in 2015 Honky Tonk Girl could climb the charts without jukebox and radio play.

To be fair, I’m not sure how exactly I feel about this. The people are putting their money behind their voice – Aaron’s The Underdog is currently sitting at 16 on iTune’s overall chart – but the radio execs aren’t playing the songs.

That just seems like a bad business model. 

Bluebonnets

To me, Texas country is the rain on a tin roof, taking lunch to grandpa in the field, learning to drive on rural route three - it's the raw, undeniable truth that is rural America. Aaron gets that.

Bluebonnets is a bare-all, intimate track depicting the loss of his daughter, Julia. I can't imagine a better way to cope - and honor - the loss of a child. 

"Arron Watson can out pick, out sing and our pray anyone in country music." - Josh Abbott, this past Saturday at the San Antonio Rodeo. 

What others are saying

The Rest of the Story

While the rest of the country was (is) dealing with white tundra that is winter in February, the weather in Austin turned from perfect and sunny to non-so-perfect and a little bit rainy. *sad trombone*

Rain in Texas? It’s because I’m wearing my moccasins e’rday, obviously.

Because of the rain, I fell into my rainy-day habits that are everything that is unreasonable and first-world of exploring Dillards. A girl just needs something new to wear to a work event, am I right?

While perusing the Vince Camuto dresses, my grandma called to inform me had stumbled upon my Instagram and did I want to know the rest of the story

Of course, Paul Harvey. Lay it on me. 

"Ahhh, I could really use the Dodge about now."

A photo posted by brooke clay haney (@thebrookehaney) on

While loving everything that is Johnson County, Indiana, before AgChat's National Collegiate Conference, I drove past this big, red Dodge taking residence in an iconic rural barn. To be honest, to me it was nothing more than a 'grammable moment a few football fields away from my mother's childhood home.

To my grandma, it was more. 

This Dodge was one of a pair she drove during harvest near the time my family purchased a grain elevator on the south side of the county. 

Oh, hey family heritage.

Also, my grandma has Instagram? No way. 

Dreaming of a Grand Canyon Adventure

Me: “So, is it cool if I spend some paper to book a mule excursion at the Grand Canyon?”
Travis: “Sure.”

Hashtag marriage.

Photo: Mary Kate Pedigo 

A long time ago, back when ripped jeans, A&F hoodies, trucker hats, layers and layers of tank tops were in style my dad and I started joking about riding mules into the base of the Grand Canyon and camping overnight. Well, I was joking. He was dead serious.

My dad is a denim-on-denim, cowboy-hat-wearing, John-Wayne loving man of America. He was born to do things like ride mules into the Grand Canyon, and I was genetically modified to seek adventures. 

That conversation has been buffering for quite some times. That's what happens when you graduate from college and enter the workforce. Your PTO becomes a hot commodity and you'll protect it with your life. 

Last night while enjoying an Oregon Pinot (a celebration for finishing a 21-day food challenge), it occurred to me there was no reason this couldn't' happen. 

Google.
Text dad.
Send screen shots.
Consider Dave Ramsey's budget concerns.
Text dad.
Cross fingers you can get on the waiting list. 

Turns out, there's a 13-month waiting list for mule excursions. It's a thing, people. 

This is happening. 

the little details

I'll admit it, I have a crush on Jessica of Weird and Wonderful Willinghams fame. She's an Oklahoma girl (from Chickasaw Country, no less) with a knack for photography, writing and following her heart. The latter, perhaps, earning the highest of marks.

I'm a firm believer you have it or you don't regarding most things in life. Sure with enough willpower you can do nearly anything, but without fundamental talent you might fall a little short of your dream. Jessica has the talent and the passion. She's going far, folks. 

To celebrate her first home with her husband she by lined First Home: Little Details. Inspired by her prose, I thought I'd do the same. To be fair, we're in our second home, a rental unlike the first; however, the little things make it feel more like a home than I ever felt in Charlotte. 

From my great-grandfathers globe I bid on in the estate auction to the Band of Horses concert poster from the show we saw the night before Travis proposed in Central Park, everything in our home has a story. 

Like any girl, I have aspirations of the perfect home: simple lines, reading nooks, a kitchen island to host midnight solving-the-world conversations, herringbone tile in the bathroom, a moody office, a chandelier in the walk-in closet, among others. 

It's the details, though, that make a house a home. 

I'll rally for an adventure any day

Have you ever had high hopes for your weekend only to have them shattered by waking up with a cold? 

Typically, I power through like the boss I am. This weekend, however, I thought ahead to the upcoming work travel, deadlines and friend dates and stayed in bed. Rest, I need the rest. 

For background: I don’t even take Tylenol for headaches, man. Medicine is for little boys and I’m sure not a little boy. So you can imagine why Travis would think I was dying when he found me curled into the fetal position asking him to run a few errands for me. 

“It’s noon, Brooke. You’re usually annoying by 8:30 and you’re still in bed.” Paraphrasing, of course. 

After a while, Travis mentioned, “well, I was thinking about getting a record player.”

I rallied. Hard. 

With temperatures in the eighties, the sun shining and nothing but adventures in our new ‘hood, I wasn’t letting a few snotty tissues get in my way. 

We drove from one record store to the next until Travis found a turntable that gave his heart palpitations. Music speaks to his soul, it would appear.

It was then my heart panged with certain nervousness. My first vinyl record? Too much. Just too much pressure.

I wondered through End of an Ear looking like the hybrid human I am: moccasin kicks, messy top knot, Nantucket jersey, and, of course, yoga pants. I beelined for Avett Bros. only to be disappointed, then to Adele, then to classic rock. Facing certain judgment by my choices, I wanted to make it count.

“When am I the happiest listening to music,” I asked myself. 

Stand-still traffic dance parties? No.
Imminent deadline jam sessions? No.
Kitchen soul sessions? Yes.

Conway.

Yes, Conway.

As my trustworthy sous chef, Conway often sets the tone for my kitchen shenanigans. He supports my feverish googling of ingredients and best-practices. He knows when my impatience challenges the outcome of dishes. He supports my creativity, my adventurous side.

More than that, we’re keepers of history. Our turntable is the oldest member of the Haney family. Maybe it’s played Conway before, or maybe it prefers classic rock? 

Our home is one filled with music. It's the thread intertwining our stories, our family.