The adopted son of dairy farmers, Neal Coty grew up in rural Maryland strongly influenced by two uncles: one who turned him on to '70s Southern rockers like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers, and Uncle Buzz, who introduced the young man to his deep love of traditional country music. His grandmother, a church organist, presented Coty with a guitar when he was five, he was writing songs at eight, and upon hearing Jimmy Webb's seminal "Wichita Lineman," decided to spend his life performing music.

A failed attempt at beauty college led Coty to the theater program at Towson State, where he began playing his pop-influenced acoustic songs on open-mic nights. One ambitious Baltimore club owner recognized the young talent, and soon had him booked as an opening act for such disparate acts as Kathy Mattea and Concrete Blonde.

He briefly tried his hand at commercial and jingle writing in L.A., but found true happiness in Nashville, landing a spot on Mercury's roster and releasing his debut, Chance and Circumstance, in 1997. As his popularity has grown, so have his songwriting skills, as is showcased on Legacy, released in 2000. ~ Zac Johnson, Rovi