John Berry – Those Were The Days

Like most of the country stars of the 1990′s, John Berry found himself without a label home early into the new millennium. Rather than rest on his laurals of past successes, John returned to his DIY roots and restarted his Athens, Georgia based record label. “Those Were The Days” is his first recording of all-new material in seven years.

Like many artists who became stars in the 1990’s, there came a time in which major record labels had decided he wasn’t worth their time any more. Rather than give up doing what he loves, John Berry simply returned to what he had done before he signed with Capitol Records.  John initially got notice as a Georgia-based country singer selling thousands of self-produced records.  So, it was natural for him to restart Clear Sky Records.  After recording, releasing and selling a couple of pet projects and a greatest hits project, John Berry is back with his first all-new recording in seven years.

Fans of Canada’s Emerson Drive and Johnny Reid should be familiar with the song “You Still Own Me” was recorded and released by both of them (Reid co-wrote it).  Featuring distorted guitars, the song kind of seems out of John Berry’s normal pantheon of songs until the chorus kicks in and his strong, fluid vocals take over.  It is a strong song that was also recorded by Ty Herndon for his “Right About Now” but somehow, someway, despite all of the other versions available, John Berry has managed to make the track memorable. Songwriters Chuck Jones and Allen Shamblin have both contributed hit songs in Berry’s past (Jones wrote his signature tune “Your Love Amazes Me” while Shamblin wrote the fan favorite “I Give My Heart”) and they teamed up to write the up-tempo love song “We Were There.”  It’s a heartwarming story that’s all about enjoying the ‘heavenly moments’ that come in life.  

Known for his ability to wring every drop of emotion out of a ballad, John delivers a stunner in “Those Were the Days,” which was written by Mercury artist Billy Currington, Jason Matthews and the album’s producer Kerry Kurt Phillips. While the lyrics are a bit ‘well-worn,’ Berry simply sells the song with that powerful voice of his.   “Day and Night” is another strong ballad (Phillips co-wrote it with Jim Collins) that has plays on the “Jekyll and Hyde” theme in the lyrics with verses that discusses how prim and proper a girl is to the public (Jekyll) but when the lights go down “the difference is day and night.”  Again, Berry is able to sing the song incredibly well and that’s what sells the song.  The record ends with “The Balloon Song.” Previously recorded By Mark Wills, the song tells a story of a child who goes out for the day with their uncle and proceeds to write a note to their mother on a balloon.  It’s one of those songs that displays the wisdom that children sometimes give us.

While radio has seemingly moved on from John Berry, Berry hasn’t moved on from providing his fans solid albums.  “Those Were the Days” is a solid collection of tunes that finds Berry comfortably settling back into the independent state of mind.  

If you wish to purchase “Those Were the Days,” you can order it at his website.

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