Male. Education: Rhode Island School of Design, degree.
Musician, artist, and author. Halden Wofford and the Hi Beams (country-western band), lead vocalist, beginning 1999. Performer on recordings, including Haldon Wofford and the Hi Beams and Midnight Rodeo, 2006. Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, CO, children's event coordinator.
The Long Gone Lonesome History of Country Music, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2007.
Allen Kurzweil, Leon and the Spitting Image, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2004.
Allen Kurzweil, Leon and the Champion Chip, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2005.
Paul Bajoria, The Printer's Devil, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2005.
Paul Bajoria, The God of Mischief, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2007.
Contributor of stories to periodicals, including the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
Now living in Denver, Colorado, Bret Bertholf graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design before moving west. He has created art for books by writers such as Paul Bajoria and Allen Kurzweil, and also leads a double life as Halden Wofford, lead singer of the traditional country-western band Halden Wofford and the Hi Beams. Praising Bertholf's illustrations for Allen Kurzweil's humorous chapter book Leon and the Champion Chip, School Library Journal contributor B. Allison Gray wrote that the book's "playful drawings … add greatly to the fun" of Kurzweil's "rollicking comedy." In the self-illustrated The Long Gone Lonesome History of Country Music, Bertholf marries his twin passions of art and music, producing an original picture book that a Kirkus Reviews writer dubbed both "diverting and informative."
Featuring an appropriately twang-tinged narrative, Bertholf leads young readers through pages of illustrated music history in The Long Gone Lonesome History of Country Music, a book that Booklist critic Ilene Cooper wrote "bubbles with wit and solid information." In the large-format book, readers are introduced to an orchestra of uniquely American instruments, from the spoons to the dobro and the slide guitar; they meet colorful characters such as Minnie Pearl, Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, yodeling Jimmie Rodgers, and Johnny Cash, and visit barn dances, honkytonks, and the stage of Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, learning the unique characteristics of western swing, bluegrass, and rockabilly along the way. Describing the work as a "slightly irreverent, highly entertaining historical junket," the Kirkus Reviews writer added that Bertholf's colored-pencil-and-crayon illustrations add "diverting detail" to his cultural history. Following the theme of "how and why country music developed in the barns and back roads of rural America," School Library Journal critic Mary Elam concluded that The Long Gone Lonesome History of Country Music succeeds in "explain[ing] the genre to young readers … in an entertaining manner."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, April 1, 2007, Ilene Cooper, review of The Long Gone Lonesome History of Country Music, p. 44.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2007, The Long Gone Lonesome History of Country Music.
School Library Journal, March, 2006, B. Allison Gray, review of Leon and the Champion Chip, p. 226; April, 2007, Mary Elam, The Long Gone Lonesome History of Country Music, p. 155.
Halden Wofford and the Hi Beams Web site,http://www.hibeams.com/ (April 29, 2008).