He did not know it at the time, but Caiden Brewer’s knee injury in his last high school football game would mark the end of his athletic career and the start to his music career.
When Brewer took the field at Salpointe High School for a state quarterfinal game, he was only thinking about trying to help his Mountain View teammates to a win. They were coming off a dramatic first round win over Cienega High School and felt they had a shot at beating a tough Lancer squad. Brewer had a future in football, or so he thought. He had opportunities to continue his career at the collegiate level, and had even discussed with University of Arizona coaches about playing at his hometown school.
Brewer knew exactly when he hurt his knee but remained in the game, not realizing the severity. It was a tough game for the Mountain Lions that saw five other players leave with injuries. He did not know it at the time, but that would be the last time he would strap on his pads.
“Getting hurt and losing my football scholarship was truly a blessing in disguise,” Brewer said. “After learning the news that I couldn’t chase my dream of football anymore, I was devastated. Then I realized when one door closes another one opens.”
With his playing career in jeopardy, Brewer needed something else to occupy his time, so he began playing around with his father’s old guitar. He took to the instrument, bolstered his natural talent with some pointers from friends, and quickly became very adept on the guitar.
His father passed away when he was very young, but playing the guitar has been a way to honor his memory. “Although I never knew him, I feel such a connection to him when I play music,” Brewer said. “It’s almost likewe are cut from the same cloth.”
Brewer soon began playing gigs around town and quickly built up a following. He plays four or five nights a week and has played several events for the Town of Marana, including their 4th of July Star Spangled Spectacular. Playing to that large crowd was a treat for Brewer, though playing in 105-degree heat was rough on his voice. Despite the wear and tear, he called it a “great” show and was thrilled to play in front of the hometown fans.
While his music is deeply rooted in traditional country music (he cites Waylon Jennings and Charlie Pride as his early favorites), he also adds in other influences including rock.
“I’ve been told that my music is a modern incarnation of southern rock, outlaw country,” Brewer said.
Brewer’s set mixes originals, country songs and countrified rock-songs. At the Star Spangled Spectacular, he played a version of Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” Brewer said he grew up listening to bands like ZZ Top and Motley Crue and those influences creep into his performance.
With his own music, he tries to weave a tale. While melody and musicianship are important, it is the lyrical content to which he is most drawn. “I love writing music,” Brewer said. “I love that I can tell a story and have my voice and opinions told through music.”
He does not know exactly where his music career will take him. He is able to support himself with gigs statewide and has carved out a local following thanks to monthly appearances on KIIM-FM, where he participates in their 10-minute challenge. He has released an EP of music and is looking to build on that.
“I want to take my music as far as the good Lord will let me,” Brewer said. “I’m not sure what the future has in store for me, but the constant support from everyone and my family makes me feel like I’m on a good path.”
Brewer is able to look back at the knee injury as a positive. Had he not gotten hurt, he may never have picked up the guitar. The injury led to discovering music and leading him down that path and the good things that have come from doing what he loves.
“I learned that when you keep a positive mindset, you can take on anything,” Brewer said.