Reese Neal is an independent singer-songwriter from Fayetteville, Arkansas, with a knack for making his listeners toes tap and a way of putting words together that makes them stick, long after the song has ended.
Neal has performed regularly in various coffee shops, bars, and other venues across the state of Arkansas on weekends over the past few years. During the week, he spends his time teaching Language Arts at a local junior high school, while still managing to enjoy time at home with his wife, Christina, hone his skills as a musician, and write his own material.
In 2001, Neal recorded his first independent music release, Parting Shots & Such, an album with a variety of themes, ranging from misguided love to hilarious songs of insightful wisdom about the world.
In May, 2005, Neal released his second album, thisclose. The album has been well-received, and, as result, earned Neal a nomination for Best New Singer-Songwriter as well as a nomination for Best Un-Plugged Album.
Noting the time gap between his first and second albums, Neal describes his sophomore effort simply as “a transition between the beginning and what I’m doing now.” This sophomore effort speaks for itself about how Neal has matured as an artist.
Not wanting to waste any time in delivering a dose of “what he’s doing now,” Neal released his 3rd album, Traces of Me in May, 2006.
He also recently appeared on Jones Television’s Front Row, a television series in the Northwest Arkansas region dedicated to showcasing the talents of featured local singer-songwriters. On the show, Neal discussed his background and performed "Miss Marionette"—one of the songs that will be on the new album—along with four others: three from previous albums, and one unreleased song called "Look, Ma, No Hands," which will show up on a later project.
Unlike a number of performing musicians, Reese Neal did not grow up with an instrument in his hand. Instead, he pursued a passion for sports by spending his time playing baseball, football, and basketball, as well as running track. Although Neal recalls seeing his dad’s guitar in the corner at home when he was young and his mom seated often at the piano, he never really had much interest in learning how to play either. The only real lessons he ever had were a couple of months of piano in fifth grade, and his interest in the piano was as brief as a fifth grade romance.
Years later, after a couple of sports-related surgeries and some time on his hands, Neal discovered a new passion. After hearing a live band perform the old Doc Watson song, Tennessee Stud, Neal decided he would pick up a guitar and learn to play. In fact, the guitar he picked up was the very same one he had walked past so many times growing up.
During his freshman year of college, he began learning how to play by practicing and playing with friends. He had been writing poetry a little since high school, so as his guitar playing progressed, it was only natural that he put the two together. After a couple of years, he began booking gigs in local coffee shops, relying on cover songs to carry him through a set so he could try out a few of his originals.
These days, he lets his originals do the work, using his interpretation of cover songs merely as familiar accents to the show. And as those who have been to a show will most readily admit, Reese Neal is certainly “rapidly becoming one of the mid-south’s most versatile and noteworthy performers.”
For more information about Reese Neal, visit his website at www.reeseneal.com or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
::A PLEASANT SURPRISE::
"We recently caught one of Reese Neal's live performances in Fayetteville, AR, and we really enjoyed it! He is quite the performer! It is so obvious that he loves what he is doing and anybody with half a brain would appreciate that in itself. He definitely has his own sound and is an excellent lyricist. I don't claim to be an expert by any means, but I know a good music when I hear it and in my opinion his stuff is every bit as good as a lot of what I am hearing on the radio today."
- R. Burke