Showcasing soft and romantic style

September 23, 2004|by KATE COLEMAN

MARTINSBURG, WVa. - John Berry grew up near Atlanta in a home where his father listened to the classical piano of Van Cliburn, his mother liked gospel music, and his brother became an opera singer.

Berry started playing guitar and by age 13 decided he wanted a career in music. He didn't take lessons to develop his strong tenor voice, and laughed in a phone interview from his home near Athens, Ga., that written music is dots on paper to him.

Berry and his band will be at the Apollo Civic Theatre at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25.

"We are going to rock the house," he said.

But, as evidenced by the songs on his latest CD, "I Give My Heart," there's a soft and romantic side to the 45-year-old performer.


The album includes covers of Jim Croce's "Time In A Bottle," Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" and Lionel Ritchie's "Lady."

The disc also includes the Berry-penned "Since the Day I Met You" and "Will You Marry Me," co-written with John Hall and David Lee Murphy.

Berry has 15 CDs under his belt, initially producing six himself, then some for Capitol Records. He's now back on his own label, Clear Sky Records.

His independence comes from necessity, not arrogance, he said. The music industry, getting radio play is "all about the check," Berry said.

Making music is what he loves doing, and it's what he does best to provide for his wife and sometime backup singer, Robin, and three children. "I can't let someone else decide if I'm going to make it," he said. "I'm going to do it anyway."

Berry said that people who come to the show Saturday will know him better - "musically and personally." There will be a piano, drums, bass and guitar at the Apollo. For some of the evening, it will be just "me and my guitar," Berry said.

"I encourage people not to leave early," he said. He always enjoys meeting people in the lobby after the show.

John Berry

8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25

Apollo Civic Theatre

128 E. Martin St.

Martinsburg, W.Va.

Doors will open at 7 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door.

Tickets cost $15 for balcony seats; $20 and $25 for orchestra seats and are available at 1-304-263-6766.

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