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Local bluegrass musician Stevie Barr is finishing up a Christmas tour with national country recording artist John Berry, who performed at Carroll County High School Dec. 9.
Berry, who has achieved platinum and gold status with his record sales, has written hits such as “Your Love Amazes Me” and “Standing on the Edge of Goodbye.”
When Berry performed at the Rex Theater last year, he was introduced to banjo virtuoso Barr, who invited him to play at his music store, Barr’s Fiddle Shop in downtown Galax.
When Berry performed at HoustonFest, a concert in memory of late banjo picker Houston Caldwell, in Galax last year, Berry asked Barr to be a part of his show.
“Stevie sat in on our set, and it gave me the idea of having him to perform on my new CD and of touring with us,” said Berry. “And it sure has been a lot of fun.”
Berry said his 25th CD, “Real Man, Real Life, Real God,” sends the message that “it’s hard to sing the blues when you have Jesus in your heart.” This is Berry’s first gospel album.
Barr playing the banjo on several songs on the CD and during the Christmas tour adds a special touch to the music, Berry said. “Stevie just adds a fabulous texture to the show, and I’ve really enjoyed having him with us.”
This is Berry’s 15th Christmas tour and his sixth time performing the Christmas show in the Twin County area. Berry’s Christmas tour started in Savannah, Ga., with 17 other shows across the country.
In 1996, he released the album, “Christmas Live,” featuring “O, Holy Night,” which is broadcast on country music stations at the holidays.
“It’s been real fun,” said Barr. “This show has taught me how to be a better musician. I grew up listening to John, and I knew if I went on a big tour, I would want it to be with a group of Christian musicians. And they’re all top-notch talents.”
Berry will donate a portion of ticket sales from the Carroll County High School performance to help with next year’s HoustonFest.
“When I heard about the circumstances of Houston Caldwell [who died in a 2010 motorcycle crash at age 18], I said, ‘I’ll be there,’” said Berry, who was in a motorcycle accident in 1981. “I needed to be a part of that.
“HoustonFest is a great thing they’re doing to help with Houston’s legacy and to get young people into music that might not otherwise discover the talents they have.”
• For more information on John Berry’s new CD featuring Stevie Barr, visit johnberry.com or call (855) 732-2452 (855-reachjb).