"I got up on stage during the open-mic session," Hill said during an interview with The Park Record. "My hat was resting on my ears and my boots were two-sizes too big, but I found an audience there."
That performance opened different doors for the budding musician and led him to the annual Heber Valley Cowboy Gathering and Buckaroo Fair.
"As a young guy, I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about where that would take me," he said. "I just knew if I continued to write these songs, I would be performing at other cowboy poetry gatherings."
Hill has performed at the Heber event, which will celebrate its 19th anniversary next week, six or eight times.
"I lose track at how many times I have performed in Heber," Hill said. "It feels like I go there annually, but I know that's not the case."
This year, Hill will perform a couple of shows during the gathering, which will run from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3.
The first will be Friday, Nov. 1, at the Midway Town Hall with poet Jesse Smith and singer and songwriter Tom Russell.
"Tom, in my opinion, is the same caliber of songwriter as Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson and Neil Young," Hill said. "He comes from that broken mold."
Hill has known Russell for years and has always looked up to him.
"So this is kind of like a dream come true for me," he said.
The second performance will be during one of the gathering's VIP Campfire concerts at Wasatch High School on Nov. 2.
"I love these shows because they are in an intimate venue with a small number of seats, maybe 100 people," Hill said. "I've done these shows the past couple of times I've been able to play and it's a unique opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with some dedicated fans."
Hill will perform this concert with one of his best friends and traveling partners, Andy Nelson.
"Andy is a cowboy poet from Pinedale, Wyoming, and we've combined our efforts into what we call 'The Brenn and Andy Show,'" Hill said. "We integrate his work and my work into a tribute to the lifestyle of the West."
Some of the songs Hill will perform have been culled off his upcoming CD, "Ode to Selway."
"That will be my 10th release," Hills said. "It's loosely based on the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness in North Central Idaho."
That was the place where Hill decided to become a singer and songwriter.
"I went into that area on many backpack trips with my family when I was a kid," he said. "On one trip, my cousin had a battery-powered cassette player and a recorded tape that was marked as 'Cowboyography.'"
The tape was filled with songs and poetry by Ian Tyson.
"We listened to that tape over and over again and that's what did it for me," Hill said. "The Selway was, and still is, where I can find my love and passion for the West.
The new record is a collection of songs that pay tribute to that part of the world."
Hill said he's looking forward to sharing his thoughts about the Selway Wilderness with those who attend the poetry gathering.
"Heber City has become one of the premiere places that celebrate the Western Heritage," he said. "I'm just honored they continue to ask me to be a part of it and I'm eternally grateful that these gatherings invite me back.
"I think there has always been a dedication from Heber City to show the best of the best when it comes to poets and other artists, and they continue to do that," he said. "It's nice to know Utah is taking note and supporting it like never before. I just hope I can make a large contribution on my part."
The Heber Valley Cowboy Gathering and Buckaroo Fair will be held Oct. 31 through Nov. 3, in various venues in Heber and Midway. For a full schedule see the story titled "Performance and workshop schedules of the Heber Valley Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair." Ticket prices to the individual concerts range from $10 to $40 and are available by visiting hebervalleycowboypoetry.com.