At just 20 years old Robbie Boothe has set his sights on country music stardom, calling it his passion. (Contributed photo)
HOLLYWOOD, Md. (December 6, 2017)—At just 20 years old Robbie Boothe has set his sights on country music stardom, calling it his passion.
Along with his eponymous band, they have begun to carve out a niche of popularity in Southern Maryland, hoping that their regional success could some day turn into even larger fame.
Boothe, a member of a large county clan who works for the family heating and air conditioning business, said just recently his career could have died in its infancy.
"I just had vocal surgery back in February," Boothe told The County Times. "I've started taking vocal lessons just to make sure [his voice] stays healthy.
"I didn't know it but there's a right way to sing and a wrong way to sing."
The surgery removed a growth on his vocal cords, Boothe said, that was exacerbated by the band's initial tightly crammed show schedule of three to four shows each weekend for a period of 18 months.
"We're picking our shows much more carefully," Boothe said.
The budding country star began singing in talent shows locally when he was a 15-year-old student at St. Mary's Ryken High School.
"I just fell in love wth performing in front of an audience," Boothe said.
But it was learning to play the guitar that allowed him to take his passion to the next level.
"That was the jump I needed. That allowed me to do shows."
Moving to and fro in the local musical scene he has partnered with Donovan Farrell, Max Tucker, Luke Thornly and Cecil Freeman to comprise the Robbie Booth Band, which has put out two compact discs so far and shared the stage with The Brothers Osbourne at the Calvert Marine Museum this past summer.
"They're cool," Boothe said. "They took us on their tour bus."
Farrell, 36, said Boothe's family connections have helped spread the band's popularity but social media has been a real boon.
Farrell said the rapid exposure of their music to so many people so quickly meant the band had to be willing to work even harder to get greater success.
"I'm hoping to play these larger shows and to increase our social media presence," Farrell, who plays rhythm guitar, said. "To be successful on social media you have to be very good and he [Boothe] is."
In his years of playing with varying bands and musicians, Farrell said the younger members of the band were talented beyond their years.
"You don't think it's a local band when you see it, you think it's a band ready to play Nashville," Farrell said. "Max is an absolutely amazing guitar player.
"I'm honored to work with young men who are that good."
Tucker, lead guitarist, said the bands strength, beyond its talent, is that they have a working bond.
"The band for me has been kind of a lifesaver," Tucker, 19, said. "We're like brothers.
"I love what I'm doing and who I'm doing it with."
Looking for greater success, Tucker said, he was not sure what the next step for the band was other than hard work.
"It's a wild ride," Tucker said. "We'll just keep riding the wave we're on now."
Freeman, at 53 years old, is the oldest member of the band with broad experience from the 80s music scene in Los Angeles and here on the East Coast.
He said he's been in other bands that don't come close to the work ethic of the one he's in now.
"I'm honored to be playing with such young talent," Freeman said. "All it can do is continue to grow as long as the work gets put in."
Boothe isn't giving up his day job as an estimator for the family business and is continuing his education at the College of Southern Maryland in business management.
"I can't put all my eggs in one basket," Boothe said.
He pins much of his success on the companionship and hard work of his band mates.
"A lot of people give me all the credit, but that's not the case," Boothe said. "We're appreciative of everything we've earned.
"We're a team."
The band's current brand of music is what Boothe calls pop country, and he counts his influences as coming from bands like Rascal Flats and performers such as Luke Bryant and Thomas Rhett.
His songs celebrate a "countrified, redneck life" in which he was raised hunting, fishing and crabbing.
It typifies the traditional life of St. Mary's County and Boothe wants to keep his shows family friendly.
"I'm glad I was raised that way," Boothe said.
Aside from that, Boothe said he writes songs based on what he's feeling, good or bad.
"I write a lot about girls," Boothe said. "If you've got something weighing on you that's the best time to write the song."
With all the demands of performing, Boothe said the toughest part of the music scene is time.
"The toughest thing is finding time for it all, and time to write," Boothe said. "Sometimes to relax I just go home and I like to belt out some karaoke."