I moved to West Virginia in 2008. That same year, I remember hearing about a terrible head on car accident that involved a 15 year old boy who was seriously injured and left in a coma. They didn’t know if he would ever wake up.The doctors weren’t sure whether or not he’d suffered permanent brain damage. They didn’t know if he would survive at all. All I really remember is that it was a horrific accident and I knew the little boy had defied the odds and he survived. I don’t recall hearing much about it after that. It seems that there was a fundraiser or two to benefit the boy to help defray the astronomical costs for medical treatment necessary to save his life and to help pay for the long road of recovery and rehabilitation that lied ahead of him. Anyway, I had all but forgotten about it . . until I met Kodie Brooks at Alpha Music in Lewisburg a couple months back.
Kodie Brooks, now 25 years old, was that little boy. On June 1st, 2008, his life changed forever. Kodie was born on August 17th 1992. He was 15 years old in 2008. He was headed back home from a fishing trip with his brother, Ethan, and a speeding truck veered over and hit them head-on. His brother suffered a concussion in the accident, but it was minor and he made a full recovery. Kodie wasn’t so fortunate. Kodie was in a coma for 5 weeks. To this day, he remembers nothing from birth, August 17th 1992 to the day of the accident, June 1st 2008. Fifteen years of life like it never happened . . . or as if he never existed until he awakened from his coma.
Before the accident, Kodie was a championship bull rider and calf roper. He won 18 silver belt buckles and held various titles on the circuit. Before the accident, roping and riding was his life; his passion. Even though he can’t remember doing so, he still knows how to rope and ride. Only thing is . . . since the accident his interests lie elsewhere.
Trauma to the head is a very tricky thing. It can, and does sometimes render strange results. Positive things sometimes arise from a good, hard whack to the head. In Kodie’s case, It had released a passion that was buried deep inside him all along. It opened up a whole new world to him. The World of Music. Before the accident, Kodie liked music, but was satisfied listening to it on the radio.
Once Kodie awoke from his coma, something deep inside him awakened, as well. He had an uncontrollable passion and desire to sing and play the guitar. With every passing day, his passion just got stronger. He not only plays and sings, he is writing and recording music now too. I sat down and talked with Kodie at Stuart’s Smokehouse for an interview for the #Hashtag and an impromptu jam session.
When I initially met Kodie at Alpha Music a couple months back, I had stopped in to check out some new guitars and hang out with Charlie and Dan for awhile. For a musician, Alpha Music is the child’s candy store equivalent. I was sitting there strumming an old guitar and I listened to Charlie as he gave Kodie musical advice for performing on stage. Kodie was having trouble with his timing. I noticed that he was very focused and listening intently to what Charlie was saying.
In the interview, I asked Kodie to tell me more about his relationship with Charlie, Dan, and Alpha Music. This is what he said. “Charlie is super supportive and he guides me on my songwriting, performance, and business side. Dan is an amazing guitarist and when I’m trying to find a certain chord, he helps me a lot. Before I met them, all I did was talk about playing and they gave me the push to play on stage.” Kodie added, “ Now that I’m putting in my time and hard work, Charlie says that I’ve got what it takes to make it.” My response to Kodie was, “Guidance, support and positive reinforcement, as well as constructive criticism, are all vital. You got your part down fine. I could see that the first time that I met you. If you have a good teacher or mentor, you listen and learn. Keep doing that and you’ll go far, my boy.’’ To this, Kodie said very humbly, “Thank you very much”.
When asked what gave him his inspiration for writing his own music, Kodie responded, “My songs I write for healing myself and others that might be feeling the same way that I am.” He went on further to tell me the singers/musicians that inspired him. Old Crow Medicine Show and Bucky Covington were two. Some of his other favorite recording artists are Corey Smith, Tyler Childers, Garth Brooks and Chris LeDoux. He said his playing style is Country & Western, Americana, and Bluegrass and he’s been told he sounds like singer, Kenny Chesney. When Kodie performs onstage, he prefers an acoustic guitar, a comfortable chair . . . and a cold bottle of Dr. Pepper sitting right there next to him.
On getting his picture taken . . . Kodie told me that a photographer who had once taken his picture in the past, airbrushed his trach scar out of the photo. (The scar from the tracheotomy tube put into a hole cut into his neck enabling him to breathe after the accident.) He said, “I didn’t like it at all when she did that because it’s a part of me’’.
The scar is a visible reminder of his accident, but what Kodie received inside as a result, far outweighs that. He was given a gift. It had awakened a musical gentle giant that might have forever slept. . . . and now he can share his music with the rest of us. I really like Kodie’s music and I look forward to seeing him perform in the future. if you’d like to see Kodie perform live, please follow #Hashtag Lewisburg for upcoming gigs and events. A special ‘’Thank you’’ to Stuart Brugh of Stuart’s Smokehouse for hosting this interview.
– The Random Prophet. HashtagWV 2017.