Tony Smotherman was born November 1, 1979 in Athens, Greece. At the age of 15, Tony was introduced to the music of Johan Sebastian Bach. He immediately purchased all the Bach he could get his hands on. His passion for Bach inspired him to take classical guitar lessons. Within a few months Tony was practicing at least six hours a day, primarily Bach lute suites and Paganini Caprices. With only three years of classical guitar lessons behind him, Tony was recognized for his outstanding musical abilities. He was chosen Middleburg High School’s “Most Talented Senior.” Tony was also selected to become a member in the annually published book Who’s Who Among American High School Students. This book recognizes students who are prominent in academics, art, and music. It was during Tony’s senior year that one of his teachers submitted some of Tony’s musical work to Queen Elizabeth II. Her Highness not only received his music, but also sent notes of encouragement, describing his classical guitar skills as “highly sophisticated.”
Tony wanted to strengthen his abilities, and feeling challenged by the instrument, bought his first electric guitar. Inspired by their magic, his early influences were Jimi Hendrix and Yngwie Malmsteen. In mid 2000, having found many night’s respite in the gentle tones of Ravi Shankar, Tony dared to bend his strings into another dimension. He began to experiment with the sitar and sarod, two important instruments in Northern Indian classical music. Learning ragas like “Bilawal, “Sindhi-Bhairavi,” and “Dadra” motivated him to create his own musical style, using the techniques and vital nuances that bring the vocal-like quality of Indian music to the electric guitar.
For the past five years, Tony has been, teaching students throughout Florida and southern Georgia, Playing and touring,contributing to Local and National Music Magazines and has released two instructional videos, Virtuoso Techniques released in 2002 and Licks of the Absurd to be released in 2006. His instructionals have found popularity in Asian and European audiences. Tony is in the process of producing a third instructional video, using open tunings for acoustic guitar. Tony has performed live to packed houses and held sold-out guitar clinics. In September of 2005, he was personally invited to perform his work in an instructional and performance series in the Grand School of Music at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Delaware. DVDs of this series is to be released in mid 2006. While gaining recognition for his musical abilities, Tony has acquired endorsements with Vigier Guitars, Revolt Amps, DR Strings, and Morley Pedals. His music is in constant rotation on 106.7 FM Fret Net Radio, Melborne, Austrailia.
The new millenium launched Tony into further international acclaim. In 2000, he opened for Molly Hatchett. In 2002, he released his first CD, Embracing the Spirit. In 2003, he was asked to contribute one song to the Finnish Label Lion Music, for the tribute album Shawn Lane Remembered. Tony was honored by the Hard Rock Cafe with a guitar display in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. In 2004, Tony opened for Ardrian Legg, who personally invited Tony to perform with him again in October of 2005. In November 2005, he opened and performed with Buddy Miles of The Band of Gypsies & Carlos Santana. Buddy Miles said, “Tony Smotherman is the most exciting and innovative guitarist I’ve played with in many years. He is very Professional and a Pure Joy to work with. Watch Out –In my opinion, this young man is destined to be a Star!!” To wrap up 2005 Tony opened for Rick Derringer in December. To start out 2006 on New Year’s Eve, Tony joined Tom Curiale, Rick Derringer’s drummer, for a set of high octane rock. In February 2006 Tony opened for Leon Russell’s USA Tour also .
Tony’s plans for 2006 include recording and touring with Buddy Miles . He will be releasing his newest instructional video “Licks of the Absurd” in late March 2006 on www.chopsfromhell.com.
“Tony is a deep thinker on the way to becoming connected to a higher source of self-expression. He does not let up with his versatility and confidence and seems more interested in his own purity of expression and its source, than anything else.” -Richard Acocella, President of Stylus Picks.