Christmas in Oconee with John Berry
John Berry's 16th Annual Oconee Christmas Concert was held Wednesday in the Oconee Civic Center. Enjoy the concert video and listen as Berry tells Patch why he loves Oconee County and considers it home!
Local celebrity, country star John Berry, wrapped up his annual Christmas tour Wednesday at the Oconee County Civic Center.
Patch was there to cover the musical merriment for those of you who didn't score one of the coveted tickets that sold out early enough to warrant a second same-day show.
Berry, who came to town by way of his previous tour stop in Canada, did not disappoint his local fan base, who showed their appreciation of Berry's devotion to his "hometown."
The crowd erupted into cheers when Berry appeared on stage singing "City of New Orleans" from his new album, "Made in America." It was followed by one of his better known hits, "Kiss Me in the Car."
After greeting the enthusiastic crowd, Barry slowed things down with his romantic hit "Your Love Amazes Me," which featured a picture slide show of Berry and his wife, Robin, who sings backup vocals on the Christmas Tour every year. Later in the show Berry took a seat on stage for a little one-on-one with the crowd; He shared candidly about life on the road, how he met his wife and his lack of skills as a songwriter.
"Song writing has never come easy for me but I have a lot of friends who are writers so I just use their songs," Berry began. "But every now and then I'll get inspired to write something."
And inspired he got.
On April 15 last year, he had a type of writer's epiphany. "And it wasn't because I had to write a check for taxes," he joked.
"I was watching television and was watching all these people gathered together all around our country having these tea party things because they were frustrated and feeling they weren't being represented - frustrated by what was going on in our government," Berry explained.
I thought that was really cool actually, and I thought it was pretty amazing that they could get together in these big, huge groups of people and have posters that say "We don't like what you're doing!" and the government's not sending anybody out there to shoot them. There are some countries that will come and do that, but here in America, it's freedom; we're free to do these things, and that's one of the most wonderful things about this country - the freedoms that we have to express ourselves.
Moved by his emotions, the next day Berry decided to try and write a song.
"I went into my little office upstairs in our barn and I got my guitar out and I started to mess around with an idea and the words started to come out and I couldn't write them down fast enough. It all just spilled out and 25 minutes later I had this song," Berry said as he began to sing his new release.
By the time he had reached the chorus of, "Give Me Back My America," the crowd was clapping and cheering in agreement with the lyrics.
After a brief intermission, Berry opened the second half of the show with "Celebrate Me Home," which included a tribute to military families, followed by "Let it Snow" as glittery white "snow" gently fell on the band and drifted out onto the audience.
By concert's end, the crowd was wooed and satisfied. And much to their delight, as he usually always does, Berry met with his fans after the show for pictures and autographs.