John Berry - What I Love the Most
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What I Love the Most (JB Music/Mansion, 2016)

John Berry

Reviewed by Andrew Greenhalgh

On his first release in four years, powerhouse vocalist John Berry sounds like he hasn't lost a step. Long revered for his soulful pipes and heartfelt songwriting, Berry keeps that candle lit and burning bright throughout a 10-track selection that taps into warm, radio ready country vibes that fit right within the artist's wheelhouse.

"She's Mine" leads the record off with a solid mid-tempo ramble that manages to toe the line between pop and country, while "You're My Sunshine" continues the show of love and devotion over a piano-centered arrangement that highlights Berry's crystalline vocals. "What A Woman Wants" slows things down and drops the ball a bit, the track failing to register before "Every Time" rights the ship with an impatient guitar line and more great vocals.

Berry reaches back to his "Your Love Amazes Me" days with the heartfelt ballad "There Could Never Be Another Love," rich piano and guitar lending the artist's voice some extra emotion before giving way to the playful, yet forgettable, "Gotta Lotta Love." What follows is the strongest track, "She Don't Need Me." Subtle, heartfelt, and buoyed by warm strings and piano, it's the perfect template for Berry's rich vocals and lyrics of love.

Plucky banjo colors the energetic waters of "I Get That All the Time" and is accented with some rocking electric guitar. "I've Seen It All" opts for a subtler approach anchored by mandolin and fiddle that paint a quietly poignant picture that rolls along like a mountain stream. And with "When Is Enough Enough," Berry caps things off with another mid tempo radio jam that closes the record out on a solid note.

The one downside is that, at times, the disc runs the risk of being forgettable, with Berry's hooks solid, but lacking the overall staying power of his past hits. Repeated listens, however, unveil more depth to these songs and make a lasting impression. A great listen for longtime fans and a welcome addition to newcomers, "What I Love the Most" marks the return of one of country's finest voices.

CDs by John Berry

What I Love the Most, 2016

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