A Q&A With the Lights, Camera, Talent Promotion Music Video Winner, The Doohickeys

Videos by American Songwriter

“Rein It In Cowboy” 
By Haley Spence Brown and Jack Hackett (The Doohickeys)
Interview by American Songwriter

Haley Spence Brown and Jack Hackett (The Doohickeys) are the American Songwriter Lights, Camera, Talent Music Video Promotion winners with their song “Rein It In Cowboy.” American Songwriter caught up with them to get the story behind the song.

How long have you been songwriting and performing? 

We fell into songwriting and performing in the beginning of 2022. Jack and I met at USC (FIGHT ON!) while working on the college TV station’s satirical news show. We were both pursuing careers in comedy and made a myriad of sketches together. On one fateful evening in November 2021, Jack was hosting his legendary weekend-after-Halloween party when I heard the sounds of Kenny Chesney echoing through the spookily decorated halls. Right then, we discovered our mutual love of country music. The next day, instead of sitting down to write a sketch, we wrote a song. We had been solitary hobbyists before we started working together, and we gave each other the confidence to perform music in front of an audience.

Why did you enter American Songwriter’s Lights, Camera, Talent Promotion?

We entered the contest because we thought the prize was $20,000, which would have really gotten us out of a tight spot (never bet on Women’s Field Hockey). But we’re thrilled to have won anyway!

In all seriousness, we’re really proud of the video our friends came together and made, and we wanted to showcase their hard work to a larger audience. You can hear wicked licks from Dwight Yoakam’s guitarist Eugene Edwards. Hayley Orrantia (The Goldbergs, The Masked Singer) can be heard singing harmonies. Grey DeLisle, who voices Daphne in Scooby-Doo and many other well-known cartoon characters, has a cameo at the beginning of the video. Nolan Gould (Modern Family) and Sean Rodriguez Marquette (13 Going on 30) also agreed to be in our little video, which made it feel like not such a little video. They donated their time and energy and we’re in awe that they all said yes to helping us. We figured they deserve to be showcased on platforms that match their talent; we’re big fans of American Songwriter Magazine and have discovered lots of artists we like through their features, so it made sense to submit.

What was the inspiration behind your song and video, “Rein It In Cowboy”? 

We wrote “Rein It In Cowboy” after I got my butt grabbed in a bar–this is probably the only positive thing to come out of a non-consensual booty touch. The unsettling feeling you get from brain-dead men groping you is eerily similar to the feelings zombies evoke, which is why our video draws inspiration from our love of classic zombie films like Night of the Living Dead. 

The two of us came up with a really elaborate music video; when we took it to our friend and co-director Chris Beyrooty, he told us: “There’s no way we can pull this off.” So we didn’t… and made this one instead. Our friends volunteered their time and creativity to make this on a budget, and we crafted a visual narrative we’re truly proud of and can stand behind (and grab).

Who are your all-time favorite songwriters and why? 

We love Shane McAnally, Dolly Parton, Jimmy Buffett, Roger Miller, and Kacey Musgraves–they are all masters at crafting clear images around a central idea, and they effortlessly weave humor into their songwriting. Jack and I agree that comedy is the best rhetorical device for critiquing, celebrating, and questioning the status quo.

Are you planning to release any new music this year? 

Yes! Our next single, “I Wish My Truck Was Bigger” drops August 16th. We’ll be dropping a single every six weeks as we gear up to release our first record “All Hat No Cattle” on January 24th (produced by two-time Grammy nominee, Eric Corne).

What would you tell other artists who are considering entering the contest?

Haley: Call in your favors! We would not have been able to make this video without the generous contributions of our friends who gave us their time, effort, and talent for the shoot. 

Jack: Be ok making a lot of bad stuff before you make good stuff. Start making movies at 7 years-old, so when you make movies at 28, they may be half-decent.

(Photo Credit: Jesse DeFlorio)

Check out the winning music video below:


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