Those with a passion for music say they never lose it.
Lone Grove resident John Pemberton is one who never lost it.
A country and gospel music enthusiast from a musically inclined family, Pemberton say he began singing at age four, playing some “serious” guitar by age 10 and joined the family band at age 12.
The Fresno, California native says his teenage years were spent traveling up and down the California coast playing to crowds on weekends.
As a young adult, he pursued a career in gospel music. He married his wife, LeAnn, at age 20. Also a singer, the two traveled all around the country singing gospel music and recording in Nashville.
But with three young children and living that musician’s life of being “on the road,” the Pemberton family settled in southern Oklahoma and music soon went to being more on the hobby side.
Pemberton continued to perform — here and there — but his focus was shifted to his family and career. For five years, Pemberton served as chief of the Dickson Police Department. He stepped away from law enforcement in 2012 and opened a security company.
But that passion for music crept back into Pemberton’s life as he and his wife found themselves as empty nesters with all the children out of the house. Pemberton went right back into his melodic ways.
This time he focused on country music and its a decision he feels blessed to have made. With only 18-months chasing his music dreams, Pemberton has reached a career milestone — being named 2014 Male Artist of the Year by Clays Country Radio, an Internet radio station based in Ireland.
“This is the first year I’ve been in it. I was very honored because I was getting votes from Germany, Scotland and all over,” says Pemberton, who said the honor was based on public vote.  “Because of that I’ve been invited to come over to Europe and do shows.
“Things have really been taking off,” says Pemberton, who also performed last June at the Independent CMA Music Festival, which takes place during the same time as the well-known CMA Music Festival in Nashville.  
As an independent artist with no attachments to any label, Pemberton is the one making all the calls and decisions. Right now, he has two country albums, three songs hitting No. 1 on the charts of Clays Country Radio and countless shows booked. He plays locally, but also travels back to his native California for two weeks of each month to perform up to 20 shows a time.
“The folks here have been very good to me,” Pemberton says. He has performed at Red Dirt Brewhouse, Gusher Lounge, Toby Keith’s at the WinStar World Casino, the Elks Lodge and at Fiesta Oklahoma. “But when I go to Fresno where the population is 700,000 (people), there is just a lot more places to play. And there are country fans in California.”
For Pemberton, performing in front of a crowd is the best part of his born-again career.
“People,” says Pemberton, who states he has met the nicest people through his music career. “It is connecting with people through songs. It has been something I have always loved to do.”
Pemberton says he is fortunate to fit in three-hours a day to practice his craft, which he describes as traditional country music. His musical influences are George Strait, Alan Jackson and Keith Whitley.
On top of the practice, Pemberton squeezes in time to writes his songs, which are based on everyday life. His current hit, The Family’ encourages families to look up from the screens of cell phones and tablets,  going back to spending time together.
While Pemberton’s music continues to play on Internet radio and some radio stations in the United States, it hasn’t gone unnoticed by record labels. The right record label hasn’t come along just yet, he says.  
“I want to take my time,” Pemberton says. “I have been doing this for a long time and I’ve seen people jump at the first opportunity. You can sign into something and get stuck... but eventually, I would like to sign. I want to go as far as the music can take me.”