Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Album CD Reviews- John Berry- Made In America

The Review-
Let’s start by saying that John Berry is truly one of the most underrated vocalists of this country music generation. It is his beautiful and wide-ranging tenor behind great tracks like “Your Love Amazes Me” and “If I Had Any Pride Left At All” and he’s lost none of those rich vocals here.

Berry has always had a soulful take on his country music and Made in America is not much different. The production isn’t modern country, nor is it meant to be. Berry adopts a more folk(ish) approach here and puts a heavier emphasis on his vocals- to the strength of the album.

The Made in America title is appropriate on two different levels. The feature song of the album is “Give Me Back My America,” a conservative view and approach to the political changes going on now that Berry doesn’t believe in. Appropriately so, it is told from the perspective of a life veteran. There’s some analogies to be drawn in the politics and the music business and whether you agree with Berry’s political views or not, he does an admirable job of saying his personal beliefs with some level of substance behind it. The second piece to be drawn from the album title is the use of multiple song covers- four to be exact. They are the definite strength of the album and include Kenny Loggins “Celebrate Me Home,” Haggard and Nelson’s “Pancho & Lefty” along with iconic folk songs “City of New Orleans” and “Heart of Gold.” They are American anthems and Americana at their best. Berry delivers terrific interpretations of them, never straying far from the original but putting his own stamp on them nonetheless. “Celebrate” is outstanding if for only the fantastic inflection in Berry’s vocals.

My only wish on the album is for it to have a couple of additional self-penned ballads to it. Most of the Berry-written songs are mid-tempo and with his vocal talent, a couple of soaring ballads like he’s known for would have made the album even stronger. It would have certainly played to Berry’s strengths and outside of “Celebrate,” it feels missing on here compared to previous Berry albums.

Overall, it is great to hear Berry behind the mic again and this is a great reminder of his rich singing abilities. The album can be purchased through Berry’s website or select shows.

Sounds Like-Berry’s live show complete with some covers

Standout Tracks-
Celebrate Me Home
Give Me Back My America

The Verdict-Three and a half stars out of five

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