New country band nurtures hopes of Nashville stardom

For the four young men in the Robbie Boothe Band, performing in other bands was never as good a fit as when they’ve played together.

The Robbie Boothe Band consists of Robbie Boothe, Dylan Turner, Max Tucker and Trevor Barnes.

The band’s name, according to lead vocalist Boothe, who also plays guitar, is keeping with the trend in country music for bands to be named after their lead singer, like the Zac Brown Band.

“I wanna take this thing as far as anything will let it,” Boothe said in a telephone interview.

Boothe, 18, lives in Hollywood, and just graduated from St. Mary’s Ryken High School. He said he started singing when he was 5.

“I watched ‘American Idol’ a ton, and just tried to mimic the people who were on ‘American Idol,’ ” Boothe said. However, he did not think music would be a career choice for him.

Then, a few years ago, he picked up a guitar, and his father encouraged him to pursue music. A year ago, Boothe began opening for the Sam Grow Band at Southern Maryland venues.

That’s when he met Turner. The day after they met, Boothe said the two got together to play music. A few days after that, Tucker saw Boothe and Turner play at Dockside Restaurant in Colonial Beach, Va., then came to Boothe’s garage to join in.

“It just kind of clicked. It was awesome,” Boothe said. As for the band members’ mix of musical backgrounds, Boothe said you would “think it would be a weird mix, but it’s pretty awesome.”

Moving to Nashville is a possibility, he said, because he visited a couple weeks ago and was told to come back if he wanted to write songs.

“That gave me a hint that I need to be in Nashville,” Boothe said.

But Boothe, the band’s principal songwriter, still finds inspiration in Southern Maryland. He said his songs are about living in the area and are taken from his personal experiences.

The Sam Grow Band is also a huge inspiration.

“What he’s doing is what I want to be doing, too,” Boothe said.

Boothe is thankful for his bandmates, Turner, Tucker and the band’s new bassist, Barnes.

“Without them, I’d be nowhere near as far as we are now,” Boothe said.

Turner, 20, of La Plata plays drums. A 2013 graduate of La Plata High School, he said in a telephone interview he began playing when he was 4.

“I fell in love with it right away,” Turner said. He grew up watching bands play at a venue his father operated in La Plata.

Turner said he took a break from music in high school, but about two years ago picked up his drumsticks again to play in church.

Then he met Boothe through the Sam Grow Band. Turner said he had tried to form a band several times before, “and it just never really worked out.”

But playing with Boothe and Tucker is “kind of incredible.” Their music is pure and raw, Turner said. The three practiced together once before performing together for an audience.

“It’s kind of cool how all of our different backgrounds have molded into the music we play,” Turner said of the band’s style. He comes from rock ‘n’ roll and classic rock, Boothe from country and Tucker from the blues.

Turner said he counts the late John Bonham, drummer for the legendary rock band Led Zeppelin, among his inspirations. When he sees video of Bonham playing “he’s playing with not an ounce of fear.”

Joe Barrick, drummer for the Sam Grow Band, and Cecil Freeman, drummer for Sara Gray, are also inspirational to Turner.

Soon Turner will begin pursuing a bachelor’s in special education through Western Governors University. But, for now, he is having fun playing with Boothe, Tucker and Barnes, and is willing to go where the band takes them. He said the band has a lot of fun on stage.

His father, Jim Turner, said when his son, Boothe and Tucker got together “it really clicked and it’s exciting for them.”

“[Dylan] developed a passion for [playing music] probably from watching me play it, and others,” said Jim Turner, who has played classic rock and blues in various bands.

Barnes, 18, graduated from Chopticon High School and lives in Mechanicsville. He joined the band about a month ago after seeing Boothe, Turner and Tucker open for another band that he was in. At the time, Barnes said he told Boothe to give him a call if they needed a bass player.

The other members of the band are like brothers to him, Barnes said.

“My hopes are to see this band go as far as it can go,” Barnes said. Everyone in the band wants a career in music.

Barnes said he finds inspiration in older singer-songwriters, such as Paul Simon and Harry Nillson. Of contemporary artists, Barnes draws inspiration from Imagine Dragons.

“All music is inspirational to me,” said Barnes, who does not classify his own playing in a particular genre but would consider it more rock than country.

All the guys in the band are real and down to earth, Barnes said.

“We’re just four boys playing and getting together,” Barnes said.

Tucker, 17, is a senior at King George High School, and plays lead guitar.

“It’s probably been the funnest time in my life so far,” Tucker said in a telephone interview of starting a band with Boothe and Turner. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun, too.”

At age 5, Tucker got his first guitar, he said. Later, he learned that his neighbor was a jazz drummer and he took Tucker under his wing. Tucker was part of a couple of rock bands, then Boothe called.

“I have a good feeling about us. A good feeling I never had with any of the other bands I’ve been in,” Tucker said.

Tucker counts country music artists Keith Urban and Toby Keith as musical inspirations, as well as 1970s rock band Kiss, and Led Zeppelin.

He added that he loves everyone in the band, and their success is coming a lot faster than he expected. He is not sure why it works, “but it just does.”

“We’re going to make it as big as U2 or Kenny Chesney,” Tucker said.

The Robbie Boothe Band’s first EP, containing five songs written by Boothe, will be released Oct. 3.

rbarnabi@somdnews.com