Less than one month after performing at the Palace Theatre in downtown Gallatin last December, Grammy Award-winning country artist John Berry wondered if he would ever sing again.
In January, Berry was diagnosed with throat cancer, which resulted in both of his tonsils being removed. He also underwent seven chemotherapy treatments and 35 radiation treatments, which caused him to lose 65 pounds in the process.
“It’s not anything I had ever imagined,” Berry said about the diagnosis. “I came so close to not singing again. That possibility was very real.”
Last month, the 60-year-old kicked off his 23rd annual Christmas Songs and Stories tour, which will conclude with two concerts at the Place Theatre on Sunday, Dec. 22. The shows will be the nine-state tour’s only stop in Tennessee.
Each concert lasts about two hours and includes performances of some of the 60-year-old’s past hits and new recordings followed by traditional Christmas songs like his popular version of “O Holy Night.”
“If you haven’t seen (the show), you’re missing a true event in the theater,” Historic Downtown Gallatin Executive Director Donna Belote said. “It’s absolutely phenomenal and something everybody ought to see.”
A limited number of tickets for the matinee performance at 2 p.m. are still available and can be purchased online at www.johnberry.com/tour. The 7 p.m. show is sold out.
Barry, who lives in Gallatin and attends Long Hollow Baptist Church, said he looks forward to bringing the show back home for the third straight year to be able to share his music and celebrate Christmas with many of his friends, neighbors and fans.
“We’re really excited about this show,” Berry added. “I’m hoping folks will go to church on Sunday morning and after church get a quick bite to eat and come to the matinee with us. It should be a lot of fun.”
Berry won a Grammy Award for his participation in “Amazing Grace: A County Salute to Gospel Vol. 1” in 1996 and has also been nominated for the award for his hit song “Your Love Amazes Me.” He was also a finalist for the Academy of Country Music Top New Male Vocalist in 1994 as well as the CMA Horizon Award and Top Male Vocalist Award the following year.
Most recently, Berry released a six-song EP titled “Thomas Road” in 2018. The album features the song “Beautifully Broken,” which put the artist back on the music charts for the first time in 22 years.
Since battling cancer, Berry said that he is thankful to be able to return to the stage and continue to sing for audiences around the country for his Christmas Songs and Stories tour.
“I just really believe that God uses things in our lives to get our attention,” Berry added. “So many times, I just didn’t pay attention and I didn’t get it. This time I wanted it to be different. I wanted to get it. I want God to have my full attention and use my life in any way he can.”