One of Justin’s earliest memories is of listening to his dad whistle a tune over and over, then learning to play the melody on a mandolin given to him by his grandparents. Justin was all of five years old. Music was obviously an important part of Justin’s Missouri childhood.
So much so that he, his brother and sister, and a friend toured throughout the midwest for six years as the Bertoldie Family Band. During this time Justin built a solid fan base that follows him still.
And during that same time, Justin’s deep-seated passion for hunting, fishing and the great outdoors powered his love for harvest game-animals and North America’s top game-fish.
Between gigs on the road as he grew up, Justin entered, and often won, numerous fiddle contests. He looked at the competitions as his part-time job. Instead of mowing lawns like other boys his age, Justin earned his money besting fiddlers from across the globe. And, with the rigors of competition, a determination that still follows the personable young man was born.
It’s that same determination that has fueled his rise within the outdoors world as well, to a highly respected hunter, fisherman and conservationist.
As a teen, Justin also became involved with the National Endowment of Arts Master Artist Apprenticeship Program, which fostered his love for traditional fiddle music, and which he incorporates into his contemporary country sound whenever possible.
After graduating from high school, the many theaters of Branson, Missouri beckoned, so Justin set out to see if he could find work playing music there. Little did he know he would work virtually non-stop for the next four years.
“I worked seven days a week with the Braschler Music Show and various bands at Silver Dollar City,” said Justin. “It was a great time for me because I logged four- to five thousand performances and began to find my own as a performer and entertainer.”
But Justin wasn’t the only one who noticed his improved skills. One Christmas Eve, after four years in Branson, the phone rang and it was none other than the office of legendary entertainer Roy Clark on the line. The phone call led to another four years of development, this time on the road with Clark, which might just have been the best present of Justin’s life. Clark encouraged Justin to network and write with other musicians they met while touring, and Justin eventually began making trips to Nashville.
Just when Justin was beginning to feel he needed to more actively pursue a solo career, he received an email about the 2005 Nashville Star auditions.
“My friends had been pushing me to audition since the first season,” said Justin, “but timing was an issue as I was always out on the road.” But an unusual set of circumstances developed that allowed Justin to audition. “I was supposed to be on tour with Roy when his promoter canceled a few dates. One of the dates was the same day as the audition in Kansas City.”
Justin jumped at the chance to audition, and when the producers called to tell Justin he was one of the ten finalists, he went with Roy Clark’s blessing.
Justin was a top five Nashville Star contestant and says the contacts, experience, and career advancement he made during the show were invaluable. Since then, Justin has put together his own tour, acting as manager, agent, promoter, artist, caterer and producer.
“That alone gave me experience in parts of the business I have only dreamed about,” he said. But Justin didn’t stop there. He has since recorded and released his sophomore project entitled, “Chapters.” A sixteen track CD which contains twelve original titles.
Justin is currently touring with Average Joes’ recording artist, Colt Ford, where he plays acoustic guitar, fiddle, mandolin and adds his vocals on Ford’s #1 album, “Declaration Of Independence,” which was released in the summer of 2012. Ford was also nominated for 2012 ACA’s, “Breakthrough Artist” of the year and his “Declaration Of Independence” album also garnered a top 50 spot in Billboards top 50 records of 2012!
Justin is ready to enjoy whatever the future brings. He is a likable, hard-working, experienced musician, songwriter and entertainer who through his years of touring and time on national television, has developed a large gathering of adoring fans. But while the details of the future are unknown, Justin does know that somewhere, someplace, somehow, it will include a stage, his fans, and his music.
His rise within the outdoors world has followed a similar path and is supported by his wife, Abby, along with his daughters Mylea and Molly.
Justin has also embedded his Outdoors passion into both Mylea and Molly, both of whom garnered their considerable athletic ability and drive from Abby and Justin.