He will be a heavy-hitting headliner, along with Mark Wills, with performances by Skyelor Anderson and performance host Amy Taylor as they all come together for Country at the Crossroads — a country music extravaganza coming to the Crossroads Arena beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night.
Berry expressed excitement to be returning to Corinth. He said the last time he was in Corinth was many years ago during the time period he was the opening act performing with acts like John Michael Montgomery.
Berry is a true Southerner from Aiken, S.C., where he lived until the age of eight, when his family moved to Atlanta, Ga. He moved to Athens, Ga., at the age of 24, and remained there up to three years ago. He now lives in Nashville, Tenn.
His family was supportive and enjoyed his interest in music, although it would be many years before he could make a living at it.
He made his first recording in his parents’ basement in 1979. It was a record called “Humble Beginnings.” He did his first four albums there. While he loved making music, he worked another job.
It was not until a strange and painful twist of fate that he was able to earn a living doing what he loved.
In the fall of 1981, he had a motorcycle accident and broke both of his legs.
“At the time [of the accident], I was working at a factory doing assembly line work. Well, I couldn’t do that, but I could sit on a stool and play. It was one of those odd things ... the silver lining was that it got me into music full time ... and here we are,” said Berry.
The singer’s bio can provide established fans and potential fans with what he has accomplished, stating, “The singer-songwriter rose to stardom on the country charts of the 1990s with such mega hits as ‘Your Love Amazes Me,’ ‘Standing on the Edge of Goodbye’ and ‘She’s Taken a Shine.’ His annual Christmas tours brighten the holidays for thousands, as does his electrifying rendition of ‘O’ Holy Night.’
“During his star-making decade, Berry placed 20 singles on the county charts, 6 of which went Top 5, with ‘Your Love Amazes Me,’ scoring a #1 on the Billboard and Radio & Records Country Chart as well as ‘Standing on the Edge of Goodbye’ and ‘She’s Taken a Shine’ earning the #1 slot in Radio & Records.
“He has earned multiple Gold and Platinum records over the years. Berry was nominated for the ACM Top New Male Vocalist in 1994, won a Grammy Award in 1996 for his participation in Amazing Grace: A Country Salute to Gospel Vol. 1, was nominated for another Grammy in 1995 for his smash hit ‘Your Love Amazes Me’ and was nominated for the CMA Horizon Award and Top Male Vocalist Award in 1995. In 1997 he was nominated for Vocal Event of the Year (for Long Haired Country Boy with Charlie Daniels and Hal Ketchum) and in 2013 John was nominated for the Mainstream Country Male Artist by the ICM Awards. And thanks to the miracles of modern technology, he even sang a duet with the late, great Patsy Cline.”
However, a litany of his successes does not tell the story of how he’s never actually been able to just still and enjoy his success, but he’s quite philosophical about it.
“I had a moment, a very brief moment, when things were rocketing and then the day I had my first #1 hit, I had brain surgery. I had brain surgery on May 10, 1994 ... that’s when it went #1,” he said. “I didn’t get to milk the moment or make the most of the moment.”
A few years later, when his song “She’s Taken a Shine” hit #1, Berry said he “blew out his vocal cords” and had to have vocal cord surgery. After recovering from vocal cord surgery, he left Capitol Records, after the exit of the man who originally signed him.
These days, Berry’s future still looks bright, but he seems to know how to make the most of his strengths and he knows what he likes most about performing.
“What keeps me going is that I just love touring. I love being on the road. If I could sell my house and buy a newer bus — if my wife would let me do that — I’d be all over it,” Berry said, without a moment’s hesitation.
He said he writes a little and he enjoys recording. He loves to see songs come to life in the studio, but he said he’s too impatient for the “tedious stuff.”
For him, it’s all about the performing.
“The live performances ... you get out there and put a lot of energy into it. You just get out there and have a lot of fun ... you feed the audience and they feed you and it’s great, and then it ends and you get on the bus and move on,” he said.
Concert attendees who come to Saturday’s show at the Crossroads Arena can expect a fun, laid back atmosphere. He said he likes to tell stories about the songs or a story that leads into a song.
In fact, this is a trademark of his which fans have come to enjoy and has evolved into a new show called, “Songs and Stories with John Berry,” airing this week on the Heartland Network and the Angel Network on DISH. They have filmed 12 episodes thus far and there will be a 13th episode which will be a “best of.”
His first episode will be with guest Billy Ray Cyrus. In other episodes, one will see Billy Dean, Mo Pitney, Neal McCoy, Suzy Bogguss, Collin Raye, Mark Wills, Delbert McClinton, Jason Crabb, Clay Walker and Lee Roy Parnell.
All the shows were live tapings filmed at Douglass Corner in Nashville, Tenn., the same venue where Berry originally showcased to receive his first major record deal.
Again ... it was an odd event which led to the birth of the show.
He said the whole concept came about as a fluke. It began around the early 2000s. He said he had done a series of shows with music and story-telling and suddenly had promoters called and adding more dates, asking about “that unplugged show.”
Berry’s wife, Robin, took the original recordings and transcribed them and assembled them into a beautiful tour book and they made a CD of the 10 songs to go with the 10 stories. Thus, the shows turned into a 2-disc set.
One day, he did a Facebook Live show from his back porch.
“The viewers that logged on ... the numbers were crazy,” he said.
Discussions began about doing a show and the decision was made to do a live show at Douglas Corner. Thus, a new show was born, which will air this week.
Fans can come to the Crossroads Arena Saturday and see what the excitement is all about firsthand.
And, Berry will be happy to share a good song and a story.
(Tickets can be purchased at the Crossroads Arena, or by visiting the website at crossroadsarena.com. For information about prices or seating, call 662.287.7779. For more information about John Berry, visit johnberry.com.)