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HOMETOWN ENTERTAINMENT: Grammy award-winning country artist John Berry to perform at The Harvester

The cancer survivor spoke with WDBJ about his music and health struggles
Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 6:17 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Country singer John Berry’s voice is packed with emotion, resilience and gratitude for still being able to do what he loves after some major health setbacks.

Berry recalls returning to the studio to record Christmas songs, after having brain surgery in the mid 1990s.

“It was really emotional to be in a studio, recording a song that was so meaningful to me at a time that, there was a time I didn’t know if I’d ever sing again,” says Berry.

Fast forward to 2019, Berry was diagnosed with throat cancer, requiring 35 treatments of radiation and chemotherapy.

Again, Berry’s voice survived, adding to the emotional layers of his sound.

“It gives you another story, and also I’ve gone to visit with people who are going through the same thing and may have been able to offer them some insight and some hope, and it’s a wonderful thing to be able to do that,” says Berry.

A love of music came early for Berry, as he was growing up in Georgia.

“I started playing the guitar at about 12 years old, and my older brother played the guitar and I thought it’d be a lot of fun to play some -- of course older brothers don’t have a lot of time for younger brothers, so my mom taught me how to play three chords,” says Berry.

Learning guitar, along with a family move, helped steer him toward his musical career.

“Going from knowing almost everybody in my class to knowing no one in my class, my guitar really kind of became my best friend, he says.

You’ll be able to hear Berry’s beautiful vocals and guitar at his upcoming show Sunday night, October 3 at The Harvester in Rocky Mount.

“We’ll do songs that folks have heard me sing on the radio over the years and some things that they haven’t heard, if they’re not huge fans-- album cuts and things that we love to do and we’ve got a few new things that we’ll throw in there, as well.”

Berry’s well-known for his Christmas songs, having done holiday concert tours for nearly 30 years.

But when asked about his favorite song, Berry went to his signature love song, “Your Love Amazes Me.”

“It’s really cool to think that so many people have used that in their weddings, how cool is it to have a song that’s used as part of a day that’s so important to people. It’s really cool,” says Berry.

For ticket information to Berry’s show Sunday at The Harvester, click here.

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