Saddle The Wind
Things Are Not The Same
Standing On The Edge
O Holy Night
My Heart Is Bethlehem
All The Way There
Holy Night Live
Songs and Stories
I Give My Heart
Celebrate This Christmas
John Berry has one of the most remarkable voices in music. He has scored some of country’s biggest hits with songs like; “Kiss Me In The Car, What’s In It For Me, Your Love Amazes Me (my personal favorite), Every Time My Heart Calls Your Name, Standing On The Edge Of Goodbye, You And Only You, She’s Taken A Shine, Change My Mind, Power Windows” and the list goes on and on.
He also can adopt a song from another artist and make it his own like songs from Hank Snow: “Ninety Miles An Hour” and Bruce Springsteen: “Thunder Road” as well as a multitude of Christmas classics.
But, his career hasn’t always been on the upside. John has had to overcome many difficult obstacles in his personal life.
The Entertainment Nexus talked with John about his life, career and Christmas before his show at The Capitol Music Hall in Wheeling, West Virginia.
The Entertainment Nexus- Hey John, what have you been up to lately?
John Berry- Well, do you mean like earlier today? (laughing)
TEN- Yeah that and project wise. (more laughter)
JB- Well, we’ve been working on a number of things. We rerecorded my “Greatest Hits” project. I think anybody that’s done any creative work has looked back on it and go “Gosh…I’d like to change that.” So, we got to do that and changed little things that I’d always wanted to do. The biggest change is that of course now…I own the masters to it. We also included as a bonus track a song that I’ve done for years and I’ve always loved to sing Percy Sledges’ “When A Man Loves A Woman.” That was a lot of fun to do. We’re wrapping up a new regular country record and it will come out in the early spring. It’ll be called “Those Were The Days” and we’re doing several of the songs off the album tonight. Kerry Kirk Phillips is the producer and if you don’t know Kerry’s name…you’ll certainly know the songs he wrote. For Tim McGraw…”Don’t Take The Girl” and “Down On The Farm.” He wrote “I Don’t Need No Rockin’ Chair” for George Jones. He’s written forty-two #1 songs! It’s been a lot of fun to be workin’ with him on this record. My family and I are getting ready to build a house. We just moved out onto some land…we’ve been livin’ like “Some danged ‘ol Gypsies” for the past five or six years so we think we’ve finally found home.
TEN- Is there a lot of acreage?
JB- Forty-two acres…it’s nice. Our next door neighbors where we lived prior to our move went in with us and we actually bought one hundred and twenty-five acres together. We each took forty-two and a half and some of our other friends took the other forty. So, there’s three families will be out there.
TEN- Who were some of your influences growing up?
JB- I started playing the guitar in 1972 and singer songwriters were pretty prevalent on the charts at the time. Anybody who wrote their own songs and played guitar: Cat Stevens, Harry Chapin, James Taylor, Jackson Browne…John Denver being my favorite. Also, prior to playing guitar, I really loved the “Philly Soul Sound” like The Shilites and The Stylists.
TEN- You’ve faced a lot of obstacles in your life. Tell me how you over came them.
JB- Well, a few things. They were life changing but not life ending. It started off in 1981 when I was run over by a car and broke both of my legs and my left hip. That was pretty hard. I had just lost my mom earlier that year and as a nineteen year old…that was pretty tough. The coolest thing in the world that came out of it was that I couldn’t go back to my job at a warehouse/manufacturing plant. I couldn’t do that work anymore but I could sit on stool and play guitar. That’s all I’ve done ever since. Then I had brain surgery in 1994…which I don’t recommend unless you really need it. It’s not like a nose job. (smiles) I had vocal chord surgery in 1997. It’s always little things that just give you an opportunity to stop and go: “(Breath) Okay, what’s all this about?” But, there’s always somebody that’s got something else that’s worse going on. My general response to my obstacles is that “I’m not comin’ home today to a house where I lost a little one to cancer. Not too long ago one mornin’ a good friend of our next door neighbor who lived near us…went for his morning job and didn’t come back. He got hit by a car and died. It’s like “How tough is anything that I’m going through compared to that?” I just praise God that he blesses us everyday with health, wonderful children, a roof over our heads, and a way to make a living to provide while we’re on this earth. Life is good!
TEN- You donate a lot of time to charities and various causes. How’d you become involved with that?
JB- It’s just different things and different times. People will call and ask if I will be a part of a particular thing and if it’s somethin’ I can do and if I see that what I can contribute will benefit…then I will. Sometimes, I’m asked to do things like at home, I’m asked to sing at a lot of benefits or do benefit concerts but I just can’t because after a while it’ll be like “Oh, John’s playin tonight…again. (laughs)
There are people that are in need and they see a possible way of raising funds for whatever organization they’re with and they just think “Oh, John would be great!” but they don’t seem to understand that you burn the market. You just can’t play all the time.
TEN- Your voice seems to be made for Christmas songs and it seems that you enjoy singing them as well as your country hits.
JB- Well probably more. (laughs) I love Christmas music! I love the whole season because it’s the basis of my faith. It’s about Christ being born. Santa Claus is great. Buying gifts is great but the whole reason is Christ.
TEN- How much of an impact has channels like CMT had on your career?
JB- Well, considering they haven’t played my videos…not a lot. (laughs)
TEN- If you could do a CMT Crossroads show, who would you, play with?
JB- I have no idea. No idea since John Denver’s not with us.
TEN- How do you feel about Napster and file sharing?
JB- Send me my check! (laughs)
TEN- Is there anything else that you’d like to say?
JB- The next time we’re in town…come to see us daggonit!
TEN- Alright man, peace.
T.E.N. would like to thank Sandie Rogers and Terry Oliver for being so accommodating for this interview.
For more information on John please visit www. johnberry.musiccitynetworks.com