Seminole resident, father of two and country musician John Neese will reunite with his high school band Fantasia, Friday, Feb. 14 at GiGi's Lunch at 6 p.m. to perform old hits, beloved covers and music from his new album "Long Road Home."
According to the 57-year-old original songs on the album, "Long Road Home" and "Red, White & Blue," some covers and it is set to come out by March 1.
"I started plying guitar at the age of 13 and (I played) professionally at the age of 15. I've never really considered myself a song writer until three or four years ago," Neese said.
The musician said his older brother passed away at the age of 55, but he was a wonderful musician and inspired Neese to professionally pursue music.
Neese said there are a total of 10 songs on the album and these are the only two original songs he wrote, while the other eight are covers.
The lifelong Semiole resident said his original songs are about the journey of his life and his appreciation and respect for the military.
"The 'Red, White & Blue' I really dedicated to the veterans and the people who fight now. It talks about the flag and what it means to me," Neese said. "'The Long Road Home' is what my experience was with my brother and the choices we make along the way."
Neese said he comes from a musical family as his mom played the piano and his dad played the guitar, neither did professionally, but both had an appreciation for the art form.
"My brother (Bobby) and was touring with Stoney Edwards...and I would fill in with my brother's band playing drums, base or guitar when needed," Neese said. "Me and my brother were the only two who pursued it."
Neese said for him the best aspect of being a full time musician is its universal power to bring people of all backgrounds together.
"(I love) the messages that bring people together and unites people together for a common cause." Neese said. "I like playing and writing now...I like the energy that it brings."
While he loves to play music, Neese said there are hardships to the art form including getting one's foot into the door.
"You hear a lot of nos and then you keep trying until you hear a yes or you just try a different way of getting your foot in the door," Neese said.
Though it can be challenging, Neese said his family's support and passion for music keeps him going.
"My oldest on he plays drums and bass and my youngest plays guitar and my wife doesn't play anything she listens, but (they're) very supportive," Neese said.
Throughout his career, Neese said he has been in two bands one in high school and one as an adult.
"My high school years I formed a band with a fellow student, Kenny Childers and it was called 'Fantasia' and we did southern rock and country and classical rock," Neese said. "Then in 1993 I formed a band with a friend of mine, Terry Gray, and it was called 'Southern Comfort."'
The musician said they were together for seven years and they performed popular country music and old country music.
Along with Neese and Childers, other Fantasia band member Sean Morgan will perform their reunion show together in March.
"I'll be playing the two new songs and the covers from that and older songs," Neese said.
Neese said his album was produced in Nashville, Tennessee by fellow musician and sound engineer Gene Breeden.
"(We met) through my brother...If you want to record you go to Gene Breeden and he's a heck of a guitar player himself," Neese said.
The father of two said several musicians played on his album including Breeden on guitar, Danny Breeden on drums, Mike Dunbar on bass and acoustic guitar and John Henrich on the steel guitar.
Neese he's grateful to everyone who has supported him and his dream and he hopes people will enjoy his latest work.
"I hope they will respond well to the 'Red, White & Blue' and the 'Long Road Home' it depends on how you hear it," Neese said. "It can be for anybody...I hope the CD does well and I'm going to keep writing songs and doing albums as they come along"
For more information on his album and to purchase a copy people can email Neese at jsneese63 @yahoo.com.