John Berry,
Songs & Stories
(self-produced, 2003)

John Berry is a fine country singer and a skilled storyteller. This two-disc acoustic album showcases his talent on both counts. There are 18 great songs interspersed with anecdotes that show just how much John's fans enjoy his company. A Southern gentleman, his sense of fun is infectious and his love for his music (and for the music of others) is obvious.

The album was recorded from a long road tour which ranged from Wisconsin to California. It's an intimate experience. Harmonies are supplied by John's wife Robin, and piano-player John Hall joins in from time to time but, apart from the appreciative applause of his audience, this is basically just John Berry and his guitar, and that's all right by me. Favourites such as "She's Taken a Shine," "Kiss Me in the Car" and "If I Had Any Pride Left at All" are included and there are also tributes to John Denver, Neil Young and Hank Snow, as well as a tongue-in-cheek nod to Bob Dylan along the way.

This album has taken up permanent residence in my car. It's good company, and I enjoy listening to John's speaking voice as much as I enjoy his powerful tenor. The story that accompanies "Standing on the Edge of Goodbye" will raise a smile from anyone who's ever written. Anyone who's ever found themselves unexpectedly tongue-tied in the face of a hero or been gifted a surprise that was actually surprising will enjoy the intro to "Annie's Song." And if you've ever missed your father you will appreciate the story that leads into "Forty Again."

If you respected the work of John Denver, I think you'll be impressed by the work of John Berry. I've definitely taken a shine to him.

- Rambles
written by Jean Lewis
published 6 December 2003

[ visit the artist's website ]