Trying to Breathe
Take the purity of John Prine, the humor of Steve Goodman, the rich tender vocals of Gordon Lightfoot, and the story-telling ability of Harry Chapin and put them into a big mixing bowl, you get Al Berry. Al Berry was born in Dallas, Texas during a period when music was begining to make a dramatic change with the sounds of such greats as Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bobber, Dion & the Belmonts, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers and Jerry Lee Lewis all filling the air waves with a new and different sound that would later define rock and roll today. At the other end of the spectrum was country music with greats like; Porter Wagoner, Slim Whitman, Carl Smith, Hank Thompson, Ray Price, and of course a new comer to the scene that would stand the music industry on it's ear, Elvis Presley. Being bombarded by music from all sides, it is no wonder that Al's music is just as eclectic. When asked who his influences are, he just smiles and shakes his head, 'Everyone'. At the tender age of 11 years, he got a set of drums for Christmas, and that would ignite a spark in him that would never die. He studied such drummers as Zorba the Greek, Gene Kroupa and Buddy Rich. By the time he was 13 years old, he was playing in bands and performing in clubs.It was during this period that he discovered the magic of the guitar. While in Germany,(after much begging and bartering), his mother bought him an inexpensive 'Framus' classical guitar. He couldn't put it down. It posessed him. He would watch The Glen Cambell Variety Hour every week and that is how he learned to play. By the time he was 15, he was writing songs and performing for friends and family. After performing for several years in local clubs, Al took his show on the road. 'When you work the clubs and bars, you learn what people like. I try to stay true to that and give the people what they want to hear'. He says. ' I am truly flattered that after a lot of years of covering other people's music, folks are actually requesting my original songs. That, in itself, is a great reward.' Al doesn't write in one particular style or genre. He is, like the music he grew up on, 'all over the place.' However, he will tell you that his real love is folk music. His greatest influences can be traced to Harry Chapin and Gordon Lightfoot. It is no wonder then, that Al has played to packed houses all over the United States, and continues to please audiences with his eclectic style of music and humor. His latest project, 'Trying To Breathe' is a combination of love songs (Trying to Breathe) as well as social statements that come straight from the heart (The American Dream) or the war in Iraq (The Best Don't Always return) as well as humorous songs like, 'They Won't Listen To My Songs'. It is a project obviously written from the heart with soulful lyrics and down home humor.