The Tony Smotherman Project
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The Tony Smotherman Project

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The best kept secret in music


"The Opening Of The Beaches(Live Show Review)"

The big buzz for Saturday’s Opening Of The Beaches Festival was Tony Smotherman’s performance with his new trio Tony Smotherman and Brain Station, featuring Tim Lindsey (from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rossington Collins, and Artimus Pyle Band) on bass and Bruce Royal (from the 80’s reggae sensation Black Sheep, Spyro Gyra, and Mr. Natural) on drums, and the burning hot, all-original, percussion driven band from Martha’s Vineyard, Entrain.

It turned out that both Smotherman and Entrain exceeded my expectations, as highlights of the Saturday program. Also, the fabulous Retro Kats with their new secret weapon, Saborla Lemar on lead vocals, was a hit with the crowd. And the most famous party band in the area, Woody and The Peckers did their thing with wild enthusiasm and got the crowd grooving.

When Tony Smotherman switched from playing serious classical guitar, after achieving virtuoso status in that genre, to playing electric guitar, he quickly achieved a reputation as a post- Hendrix, postmodern electric guitar innovator and fiercely original songwriter who has recently risen from local fame to making inroads into national venues.

Tony gigged around the region in Voodoo Soop to showcase his style in a commercial project. It was a great bar band but Tony wanted to expand his horizons and play mostly original material. Tony has boldly stepped out front with his electric guitar showcase instrumental trio, a daring move that only someone of Tony’s confidence could pull off.

Tony’s new CD “Embracing The Spirit” is selling well, and he has national distributors interested in marketing it internationally. Tony has also released an instructional DVD titled Virtuoso Technique, which is quickly establishing Tony as a guitar avatar on the level of Yngwie Malmsteen, Jimi Hendrix, Shawn Lane, Ron Thal, and Rusty Cooley. Tony has brought Ravi Shankar’s spiritual sitar sound, with it’s vocal-like quality, to the electric guitar in a unique style of playing that establishes Tony as one of today’s true electric guitar technique innovators. Tony has skyrocketed to prominence and has nailed down endorsement deals with EVH Peavey Wolfgang Guitars, Line6, DR Strings, and Emg Pickups, and is now managed by ABRAXAS Entertainment, Inc., a local management company with several big names under their belt including Rusty Cooley.

For his festival set, Tony played selections from his “Embracing The Spirit” album and some crowd- pleasing Jimi Hendrix favorites. Considering Tony’s material is sometimes esoteric, surprisingly, the crowd of over 6000 loved his instrumental guitar explorations. Tony’s versions of Hendrix classics like Little Wing and Third Stone from the Sun are highly improvised into his style, making the well-worn tunes his own. Tony’s version of the Star Spangled Banner, had the entire crowd on their feet, pumping fists in the air and waving shirts, drinks, or whatever they may have been holding, and ended with an ovation that Hendrix himself would have been proud of.
- Entertaining u May 1-7 2003

""Embracing the Spirit" CD Review"

Artist: Tony Smotherman and Brain Station
Album: Embracing the Spirit
To utilize the guitar as the sole driving mechanism in one’s art is a strikingly bold statement to make. Dick Dale, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Joe Satriani are just some of the greats that have built consuming lifetimes mastering this instrument and have branded themselves as sole carriers of a language that is expressed uniquely through guitar. Embracing the Spirit is the first full-length release from Tony Smotherman - a nine track introduction to the life of guitar guru. These tracks are compositions presented in crystal clarity yet recorded fearlessly live in a studio with absolutely no overdubbing. A scope of styles exists, whether it be the blues of Prospect Hill or the Indian sitar that exists on At the Ridge of Jahku Temple and Two Moments Past. Perhaps the muddiest of the lot is The Mississippi Weeping Willow - a swamp water escapade that exists somewhere between B.B. King and Eddie Van Halen. Embracing the Spirit surely embraces guitar and is a grand introduction to the life of a guitar great.

By: Leon Spruce / Deep Diver Press - "Deep Diver Press" Australia

"Embracing The Spirit CD Review"

I’ve never met Tony Smotherman or spoken with him, just a few email exchanges. But his CD went to the top of the review pile as soon as I saw it. I knew I was going to love this CD when I saw the cover art and read the liner notes, and I will explain my bias:

See, back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, I was wayyy out there! I had a beautiful Indian sitar which I loved to play in the park on sunny days. I experimented with dozens of ragas. The sounds and tones produced by the sympathetic strings and melody lines on the main sting, along with the spiritual nature of the instrument, kept me enthralled for hours on end. I believed that by playing the sitar, I was expressing my sincerity and gratitude for the talent I was discovering in myself. Doing this simply helped me believe that my aim was true. So into it was I, that I became a direct disciple of Sri Chinmoy; making the trek every week from Asbury Park, NJ, to His headquarters in Queens, NY. There I was learning about meditation and it’s benefits in music from a true Master, often in the same room with great artists like Devadip Carlos Santana and Mahavishnu John McLaughlin (no, I didn’t jam with them.) Now, twenty five years later it is indeed a different time; still I recognize a bit of my young self in this CD presentation, Tony Smotherman and Brain Station – Embracing the Spirit.

Listening to this CD, I was glad to find my intuition still functioning at full capacity. As it happens, this is one of the best showcase CDs we’ve ever heard. It’s an honest effort which states in no uncertain terms, I’m here, we’re here, and this is what we do.

The CD begins with a twenty-eight second intro on the sitar, followed by eight excellent compositions by Tony Smotherman. It’s a competent recording (a judgment based on the BA in Music Production and Engineering I got at Berklee back in ’84) with great performances by Bruce Royal on drums & percussion, Andy Haney on bass, and Tony Smotherman on guitars. As a band, they’re not at all boring. Each member brings talent and experience to the group, and you get the sense that they really like arranging and performing Tony’s tunes. This power trio must be quite something to see live, with all the versatility and instrument changing.

The album is a well ordered mix of heavy metal, blues, and jazz rhythms. There are lots of surprises like unconventional chord phrasing, quick changes in tone, open tunings, and unexpected meter changes; all with appropriate use of delays and reverbs.

Tony takes chances with far out yet interesting progressions and melodies. His solos are relaxed and controlled; obviously a result of considerable time spent with the instrument. His influences are subtle, too; he’s no clone. He goes exactly where he wants to. His hammers are even, crisp, and clear. Sweeps are quite clean with lots of tonal play, and throughout the songs Tony doesn’t let up with his versatility and confidence. He seems more interested in his own purity of expression and its source, than becoming the next Yngwie.

And it doesn't end there. Andy Haney on bass does the job with notable proficiency and brilliance. Like a good film score where you only seem to notice the music at the climax of the scene, realizing it was there all the time, Andy provides an unshakable rock-solid bottom and communicates well with the drummer. Speaking of which…

Bruce Royal is outrageous! Bruce is a highly versatile drummer with good training and chops that can only come from playing a long time. Bruce justifies the efforts of the engineers Mike Nasworthy, Chris Kellam and Scott Whittier, ultimately delivering that "million dollar sound"; rare to find on a homegrown CD even of this caliber.

But it’s the open tunings where Tony Smotherman meets the challenge, and shows his intelligence. Oceans Beyond the Moon just blew me away. It’s a beautiful composition. Fluid with daring and colorful intervallic leaps, and finger picked with skill and excellent timing, the tone is sweet and the melodic phrasing is compelling to say the least.

Prospect Hill is a passionate odyssey of guitar styles set in a "Jimiesque" blues progression. This piece has a bit of everything; even a little slice of Three Blind Mice! This illustrates Tony Smotherman’s focus on fundamentals and goals, and the band’s overall ability to perform comfortably as a cohesive unit. It’s check your ego at the door with this group, and that in itself is a great thing.

Following a total of eight very cool performances by Tony, Andy, and Bruce, is a fifty-two second sitar outro to let you down easy - and remind you from where it all started. (Clever, the way it loops back to the sitar intro as the CD begins again.)

All in all, this CD is a page out of a book of faith in purpose and confidence. I recommend this CD to teachers, students, and aspiring guitar enthusiasts. Tony’s a deep thinker on the way to being connected to a higher source of self e - Stylus Guitar Picks

"Famous Quotes"

Queen Elizabeth II
"Tony's classical guitar skills are highly sophiticated"

Buddy Miles - Jimmi Hendrix,Carlos Santana -
" 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.! "
Buddy Miles

Marty Friedman-(Megadeth,Cacophony)
"Great playing on your cd,best of luck!!!"

George Bellas-
"Tony Smotherman is one of the most energetic guys out there, just listen to this guy! "!!!!

FretNet Radio PBS FM 106.7 Melbourne,Australia - -
Tony Smotherman is a player who can certainly hold his own with the shredders, but plays with great finesse and feel.

Scott Stine -
"Thats some scary legato"!!!!

Terry Syrek -
"Tony is a rippin player with diversity and musicality to his playing as well as hit yer mom over the head chops o' doom. Love the CD; great tunes, great playin, great vibe. Love the old school Indian instruments, too."

Rusty Cooley - Lion Music Recording Artist -
"Tony's got it all, great chops and tunes, and knows when to lay back and bend a few notes"

Francesco Fareri - Independent Artist -
"Incredible playing, incredible feeling, incredible phrasing, incredible technique! A really complete musician!"

Ron Thal-
"Tony is not a very good player, but he dresses well. I specifically like his shoes."Tony Rules! - Bumblefoot (aka Ron Thal)

Edward Sackett-Senior Music Editor of the The College 500
"There's a world full of good players, but this guy is great player material and he's deadly accurate too -- that's rare."

Michael Smith- Editor of Gritz Magazine
"Tony is the GREATEST undiscovered guitar hero on Earth...


"Embracing the Spirit" 2002 solo album

"Shawn Lane Tribute" 2003 Lion Music (Finland)

"Two Sides" 2004 Solo acoustic cd

"The Tony Smotherman Project "Live at the House of Jam 2005

Airplay "Fretnet Radio Melbourne Australia 106.7 f.m.

2 instructional videos released internationally
through Chops from Hell


Feeling a bit camera shy


Tony is quickly becoming one of the most popular Guitarists on the scene..His eclectic mix of influences sets him apart from all of his peers with his own distinct sound.

Innovating new techniques and combining a huge array of different styles, Tony has created a diverse musical world.

Tony has opened for and played with a vast array of national and international touring acts including Buddy Miles, Rick Derringer,Leon Russell and Adrian Legg

Though rooted in Rock..Tony intertwines all the musical worlds he explores with his own distinct fingerprint .

Tonys band incorporates original music hinting from from the Far East, Blues, Rock, Jam band, Neo-classical,Ambient new age, acoustic new age,Rock and Funk into one unique package.

The Tony Smotherman Band explores many muscial styles while staying unique and original. There are many interesting influences each member brings to the band. Headed by Guitar Virtuoso Tony Smotherman. World Class drummer and percussionist Bruce Royal brings many years of experience to the group..having recorded and toured with such artists as "Black Sheep" Spyro Gyra, and a multitude of Grammy winning artists..Bruce is a Master drummer that plays with passion and raw soul. Bassist Jon Reshard is a ground-breaking bassist at only 21 years old and has had lots of support from world-class bassist Victor Wooten. Jon has been amazing festival crowds all over the country. Jon has toured Europe and has been featured in many bass magazines across the country.

"Tony’s a deep thinker on the way to being connected to a higher source of self expression,he doesn’t let up with his versatility and confidence and seems more interested in his own purity of expression and its source, than anything else"
Rich Acocella
President of Stylus Picks