TOM BERTLING - Lead Vocals, Song Writer, Acoustic & Electric Guitars
At the age of seven, Tom traded his brand new 007 Secret Agent Spy Case that he got for Christmas to a neighborhood friend for a beat up acoustic guitar that had a large hole in the back. He came home and proudly showed the trade to his parents, who immediately told him to take back the guitar and get his 007 spy case. Tom refused. When his parents realized that he was not going to return the guitar, they put strings on it with the condition that he learn to play the Marine Hymn, he did. He perfected his craft, sitting on the front porch for hours on end. Number 8 of 12 children, Tom was raised in Delphos, a small town in northern Ohio. Some of his earliest musical influences were listening to his grandmother play guitar and sing old songs from the 20’s and 30’s, and tuning in to CKLW, an AM radio station in the Windsor/Detroit area. With an appreciation for all kinds of musical styles, Toms’ original music cannot be categorized. He writes a little bit of everything and he calls it “Mutt Music.” He has played in smokey dark corners of more pubs, dives, and roadhouses than he can remember. Tom lived in Nashville for 7 years and had the honor of playing on the Grand Ole Opry stage twice, and numerous showcase clubs such as The Bluebird Cafe and Douglas’ Corner. The Nashville experience enabled him to live and work with some of the best song writers in the industry. His unique guitar and vocal style has won him fans from around the world. It’s not uncommon to hear such accolades as “What an incredible singer,” or “You wrote that song, why aren’t you famous?” He always asks if they own a record company. The simple truth is, that he pursued the gift he was given and stayed true to the dreams of his youth. He actually gets to do what he loves, play music full time, and get paid to do it. “It doesn’t get any better than that!”
INCARNATIONS OF SMOOTMAHOOTY
Over the years Tom has had the honor of playing with many gifted and talented musicians, below are just a few:
PRISCILLA BERTLING - Harmony Vocals
You know that old saying, "Behind every great man there's a great Woman?" Yep, that would be correct. Not only is Priscilla Tom's biggest fan, she is also his wife. Priscilla Bertling is a native Phoenician, born and raised in the beautiful state of Arizona. She grew up dancing, singing, and performing, and when asked will tell you that she's not really supposed to be working a regular job, she's really supposed to be in movies, on television, or performing on Broadway. Yet, if she had, she probably would not have met the love of her life, while singing harmony vocals with a girlfriend in 1987. Priscilla has been singing with Tom ever since. With an uncanny skill to match harmony vocals with anyone's style, she especially takes pride in her ability to match Tom's. Those who come out and support Smootmahooty have heard many an original tune written for or dedicated to Priscilla. They continue to celebrate their love and life together. She occasionally performs with Tom solo, and you can hear her harmony vocals sprinkled throughout all of the CD's.
ROBBY ROBERSON - Mandolin, Dobro, Banjo, Acoustic & Electric Guitar, Resonator Guitar, Harmonica, and Harmony Vocals
Robby Roberson was born in south Texas and started playing guitar in the mid-sixties after hearing the Beatles play “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” In 2007 the passion for writing and performing songs came into focus and now he performs regularly at local venues, benefits, and music festivals in the Tempe/Phoenix area and around Arizona. Robby's songs are stories of fact, fiction, joy, and sorrow; all set against a backdrop of the various acoustic stringed instruments he plays. He feels that the instruments are not only a means of accompaniment, but an equal performer. Along side his various styles of instrumentation are his lyrics and vocals that create a balanced harmonic, organic, and original musical style. Robby is often joined by Ed Garnero (bass, vocal), Michael Mulryan (fiddle) and Jim Banister (percussion) (aka, The Robby Roberson Quartet-www.robbyroberson.com).
KEVIN MAUCH - Fretless, Fretted and Electric Upright Basses, Vocals
Beginning in January 2012, Kevin became a fulltime member of the "The Biffos," a great Irish Celtic Rock band that plays everywhere in the valley. Check out www.thebiffos.com to catch Kevin doing what he does best.
A native of Elida, Ohio, a small Midwestern farming community, Kevin was lucky to grow up at a great musical crossroads where all sorts of music was in the air. Early influences include Motown, Beatles, Byrds, Cream and a myriad of other bands. Kevin began toying with guitar at the tender age of five, then switched to bass on 13th birthday. He did his first paying gig one week later. Kevin has played countless high school dances, teen centers, parties, county fairs, grand openings, a freezing ice skating rink, and even at a hospital for the criminally insane. He re-located to Columbus, Ohio to attend art school and at the same time began mixing more musical colors into his sonic palette. King Crimson, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Moody Blues and other ‘art rock’ bands competed with a growing love of jazz, jazz/rock fusion, R&B and funk music. He worked with a number of bands in genres as diverse as acoustic folk/ rock to searing jazz fusion before following the sun (and some former bandmates) to Los Angeles. There, Kevin continued to experiment with different musical styles and situations, including training in recording engineering with MCA Records. However, the luster of L.A. wore off after a few years and Kevin returned to Ohio and the active rock-n-roll club scene. It was at one of these blue collar Midwestern bars that he first encountered Tom Bertling, who was hired to play solo during the band’s breaks, and the rest as they say, is history.
GREG AHMANN - Lead Guitar and HarmonyVocals
Greg's fulltime gig playing lead guitar is with a hot new Phoenix country band "Boy Named Sioux." Check out www.aboynamedsiouxaz.com to hear Greg kill it!
Born in Ft Wayne Indiana, Greg moved west with his family and found home in the small town of Winslow, AZ. Drawn to music at an early age, Greg began playing saxophone in the elementary school band but not long after picked up his older brothers guitar and quickly absorbed anything his brother (or anyone else for that matter) would show him. Taking up bass to fill a spot with a local band, Greg played his first gig at 15, but would eventually return to guitar, gigging around the local dives of Winslow and Northern Arizona. In 1987, Greg moved to Hollywood, California to attend Musician’s Institute, but moved back to Arizona in ’89 after graduation and found his home in the here in the Valley of the Sun. Over the last 20 years, Greg has taught guitar lessons, played and recorded with several local bands around the Valley, and in January 2008, played his first gig with SmootMahooty.
MATT MYERS - Drums & Percussion
Matt has been playing some sort of percussion his whole life. He officially began playing drums at age 8. Matt’s first teacher was his older brother Ed, who was the drummer in a popular touring Indiana rock band during the mid 1960’s. Matt has over 30 years of professional stage and studio experience. He is most influenced by; Buddy Rich, Alex Acuna, Vinnie Colaluta, John Bonham, Steve Gadd, Neil Peart, Danny Carey and many others! His playing is an ever-evolving tribute to all of the great drummers who continually inspire him. Matt has been teaching drum set and percussion for over a decade. For more information check out www.arizonadrumlessons.com
BRID DOWER - Vocals
Bríd Dower is known as the premiere Irish singer here in the Valley of the Sun. Brid has appeared as a guest vocalist on all three of SmootMahooty's CDs. Brid was born & raised in Waterford, Ireland, and moved to Phoenix in 1992. Check out Brid's music at www.briddower.com