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REVIEW: Annie Brobst’s “My First Rodeo”

Country-music singer Annie Brobst performas with her band at Opus in Salem. (Spenser R. Hasak)

Former Peabody resident Annie Brobst’s debut full-length album, “My First Rodeo,” should increase her already fervent fanbase, dubbed the ABB Army. The North Shore-based country-flavored singer-songwriter puts her powerful voice, an appealing mix of sweet honey and smoky bourbon, to wondrous use on these 12 songs of love won and lost.

Backed by her top-notch bandmates (Rodger Hagopian, Ryan Dupont, Steve Latanision) and other first-rate musicians, Brobst, a Columbus, Ohio, native, shows she’s ready for the big time. Catchy opener “Before I Leave,” aided by Eva Walsh’s gorgeous fiddle and a melodious chorus, has real commercial potential. Ditto for the rollicking “Still Water,” with Latanision’s haunting pedal steel guitar, and the upbeat country rocker “Whisky Colors,” with sterling harmony vocals by Andria Bremhorst, Ashleigh Graham and Chris Martin of local band Scarlett Drive.

The Wanda Jackson-like rockabilly raver “You Either Love Me or You Don’t” is a hoot, featuring Brobst’s gritty growl, some nifty honky tonk piano by Chris Bloniarz, plus spirited blasts of banjo, fiddle and guitar. “Ghost” and “Paper Weight,” selections from her 2016 EP that are staples of her shows, are strong songs given more oomph here.

Brobst shares songwriting credits on all dozen songs, most often with Hagopian and Dupont, and all contain at least one clever line or turn of phrase in the classic country tradition. “Change of Heart,” about taking charge of your life and the first song Brobst and Dupont wrote together, features her finest, prettiest vocal.

Success has come relatively quickly for Brobst, the reigning New England Music Awards’ Female Performer of the Year and New England Country Music’s Local Female Artist of the Year. This collection of quality tunes should propel this talented songstress to greater heights.

Brobst and her band really shine in concert. Check them out live on Saturday at Capone’s in Peabody, Wednesday at the North Reading Summer Concert Series, and July 19 at Stonewood Tavern in Peabody. www.anniebrobstmusic.com


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