Reese Neal is an independent singer-songwriter from Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA. With an acoustic guitar and occasional harmonica, Neal regularly performs his own brand of acoustic "folk-ternative" tunes in various coffee shops, bars, and other venues across the state of Arkansas.
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 bride, hone his skills as a musician, and write his own material.
To date, Neal has independently recorded and released four full-length albums:
Parting Shots & Such (2001), thisclose (2005), Traces of Me (2006), and most recently, Lighten Up My Load (2007).
Neal recorded his latest release, Lighten Up My Load, at East Hall Studios in Northwest Arkansas. David Farley, Travis Smith, and Chris Moore round out the cast that gives Neal’s fourth album a “front porch” feel, with a sizable dose of Delta-like blues twang and the freedom of the countryside.
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--literally. When the relationship ended, so did the music.
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 while 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.
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