Brooke Latka makes her living on the road. She plays the fiddle and sings in the Chancey Williams and The Younger Brothers Band. Even though she lives on a tour bus most of the time, she also somehow manages to always look like she just stepped off the Turquoise Carpet at the NFR!
“Being on stage is a feeling I cannot describe. To look out and see all the people cheering and singing our music is very humbling to me. It makes me so happy to see the audience having fun, which makes me crave this lifestyle more and more. People always ask me how often I go on the road and they are always blown away when I tell them it’s every week. It’s my full-time job. Actually, I don’t even consider this a job. It’s my passion and I can’t believe I get to do this for a living.
“I play fiddle and sing background vocals for Chancey Williams and The Younger Brothers Band. I have been in the band for 11 years, although it feels like just yesterday. My first show with CWYBB was on Casper Mountain. I was born and raised in Casper, Wyoming. Growing up, I was classically trained on the violin. I started taking Suzuki violin lessons in 3rd grade from the concert mistress of the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra, Becky Mothersbaugh. I give her a lot of credit for where I am today. I enjoyed playing in orchestra and singing in choir throughout my school years. When I entered college I got more into the country music/rodeo scene and thought it would be so cool to start fiddling and hopefully one day join a country band. I met Chancey Williams at the College National Finals Rodeo. He had just returned from Nashville recording his 1st album Honky Tonk Road. He was in need of a fiddle player so that’s when I decided to join the band.
“We have been fortunate enough to get to share the stage with some pretty amazing artists over the years such as Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam, Gary Allan, Cody Johnson, Casey Donahue and Aaron Watson. We were even fortunate enough to get to go to France and perform. I would be lying if I said being a traveling musician was easy. It’s a lot of hard work, it takes dedication, and we all have to work together to make each show a success. Most bands don’t make it together as long as we have and I’m proud to say we have! We are a family and I couldn’t imagine my life without my band family.
“Living on a tour bus has changed a lot of things for sure and has made things a lot easier on us. I have my own makeup /dressing room in the back. I’m sure I take a lot of time back there getting all my outfits ready, but the guys put up with that well. Fashion plays a big part when it comes to my job. Besides being on stage, getting dressed up before shows is one of my favorite things to do. I love putting outfits together and mixing and matching. Turquoise and fringe are my favorite things to wear on stage. I was lucky enough to get to have not one, but two pairs of my own custom Jacqi Bling boots made for me. The swarovski crystals sure light up the stage and get a lot of attention. She put a lot of hard work into my boots, and I’m honored to wear them. I get to work with some amazing gals who help style me up for our shows. Allure Boutique out of Douglas, Wyoming, has gone above and beyond for me. Megan Tillard, the owner of Allure, makes sure I have everything I need for shows when it comes to my outfits. She and the girls at Allure are class acts and I’m so lucky to get to work with them. I also get the privilege to work with fashion designer Tara Trask, also known as TK Trask, owner of The Molly and Gidget collection and host of STYLISH podcast. This gal is fire and makes some of the coolest outfits I see in the Western fashion industry today! I was honored when she gave me her gold leather fringe jacket. This jacket is everything to me and is one of my favorite pieces to wear on stage. I’m excited to keep working with her and hopefully start coming up with some new outfits to bring to the stage.
“To everyone that wonders what it’s like being the only girl in the band and traveling on a tour bus full-time with 9 guys: It can be challenging at times, but you would be surprised at how well it goes. I guess that’s because I have been in the band for so long and can put up with a lot. They are like big brothers to me and have taken care of me from day one when I joined the band. I’m just another member of the team and that is how they treat me. Still… being on a tour bus with 9 stinky guys sure makes me appreciate my house when I get home.
“When coming back home to Casper after a long run on the road, seeing Casper Mountain is such a relief because this is the time I get to see my family and rest up for the next round of shows… oh, and of course do lots of laundry and repack. I do start missing the guys and the road life after I’ve been home for a little bit though. The road life is very addicting. Once you start it up it’s hard to stop. I get anxious to get back on the stage and perform for our fans. The fans have lots of choices on which acts to follow and where to spend their hard-earned money. We never take them for granted. If they don’t come, we have nothing. So we want to give them our best every time we step on stage.
“The life of a traveling musician isn’t always easy. We believe in ourselves, but we know it takes work to get there. Wishing and hoping doesn’t take us to the next level. Hard work does.” – Brooke Latka