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“We All Come Together” for John Berry at Nashville’s City Winery

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

How to keep such an epic night of music and pure love brief?  That’s my problem today. When Think Country was honored by being invited to “We All Come Together”, a benefit for singer/songwriter, John Berry, there was no way we were turning it down.  Berry, who recently completed treatment for cancer, is a beloved member of the country music community in Nashville, and has been fortunate to receive assistance from the Music Health Alliance during those treatments.

The Music Health Alliance’s Mission is to Heal the Music by providing access to healthcare through services that PROTECT, DIRECT & CONNECT music professionals with medical and financial solutions.  

Photo courtesy of Patti McClintic and Think Country

Music Health Alliance and 650 AM WSM Radio, along with John Berry’s publicist, B! Noticed Public Relations, put together an amazing lineup of artists to entertain guests at a benefit held at Nashville’s City Winery.  As if the announced bill of celebrities wasn’t impressive enough, there were surprises too. Jaws dropped when Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood took the stage, dressed in street clothes, to sing a couple of their biggest hits.  Yearwood, at the request of her husband, sang “Walkaway Joe”, while Brooks played guitar and chimed in with vocal harmonies.   After that, Brooks broke out into his signature smash, “Friends in Low Places”.  As anyone might imagine, that stirred up a mass singalong.

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

That’s how the Nashville music community rolls.  When one of their own faces adversity, they truly do come together.  In the media room, I was able to chat with a few of the performers and I posed the same question to each of them.  Seeing as how we are Think Country, I believe country music reaches so much deeper than just a genre, so I asked the artists their thoughts on country music and the Music Health Alliance going hand-in-hand.  Here’s what they had to say:

Anita Cochran (Cancer Survivor):  “Yeah, they do. It’s such a wonderful organization.  You know, the Nashville music community has always been such a great community to band together and help each other, that when you have Music Health Alliance also join in, it’s truly wonderful because they not only help you with your bills, they help you manage your bills.  They’ll work with hospitals on getting bills reduced and things like that. It’s just a wonderful organization. They’ve helped me so much, from health insurance to all kinds of things. When your doctor tells you, ‘Okay, your biggest fight is now’, and they take you off the road, and you can’t work as an artist, and that’s what you do to make a living, you might have health insurance to pay your hospital bills, but you still have bills to pay.  Some may be 20 or 40 (co-pays), but you still have your house payments and your utility bills and all that stuff, so when you’re not working it’s very difficult. Music Health Alliance helps in so many different ways. It’s not just finances, it’s so many different ways. It’s a wonderful organization and we are so glad to have them.”

Photo courtesy of Patti McClintic and Think Country

Mark Wills:  “I don’t know a lot about Music Health Alliance.”  (I then acknowledged to Mark that I didn’t either, but now that I’m learning about it, I think it’s a great thing, and he continued with some thoughts about how the country music community really comes together when the going gets tough) “I think the genre overall, comes together to support its own, so much more, maybe, than other genres.  I think maybe because we have more of a family philosophy. For a lot of us, we’re located right here in Nashville, but see, I don’t live here. I live in Atlanta, but when somebody like John, who I’ve known for my entire career, back from before both of us had our record deals, because he’s a Georgia boy as well, so when one of your friends is sick you do what you can to come around and help him out. So, when the invitation came about tonight, it was a no-brainer.  It was something I wanted to be a part of, and I’m honored to be here. John’s a great guy, a great singer and somebody in the industry that I love being associated with. We would have had it no other way than to be here and sing along.”

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Travis Tritt:  “One of the things I love so much about the country music community is all of the artists care, and they really seem to pour their hearts into getting involved in organizations that give comfort and help to people.  For so many people to be here tonight in support of John and the Music Health Alliance, it’s really what country music and our country music family is all about, and I’m so proud to be a part of it. I’m so glad that they invited me to be a small part.  I’m really glad to be here.”

Photo courtesy of Patti McClintic and Think Country

As these statements reveal, country artists have big hearts.  They were just a small representation of the many who came out to share their talent.  The media room was small and often congested and I felt I was able to get a good feel for the general attitude of everyone on the bill with the three I talked to.  No matter where in the building I wandered, I could feel the love and support from everyone who participated.

Photo courtesy of Patti McClintic and Think Country

The show itself kicked off with a performance from Anita Cochran, who is a cancer survivor.  She performed her song, “Fight Like a Girl”, which was the perfect way to drive home the point that this show was going to be entertaining, but it wasn’t going to be a “poor John” party.  John Berry might not be a girl, but he absolutely put up a good fight and this was a celebration of a new chapter in his life now that his treatments are finished.

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

There were so many amazing artists, and they just kept coming, one after another, that it would take forever to write about each one individually, but I’ll try and hit a few highlights.  

Suzy Bogguss played “Outbound Plane” from her 1991 album, Aces.  I overheard a few people say it was so good to see Bogguss, who had several chart topping hits in the 1990’s.

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

One of the most touching performances came from Jeannie Seely and Tim Atwood.  With Seely singing and Atwood on keys and backing vocals, they did a beautiful version of “Old Friends”.  

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

It was a reunion of sorts when Sean Berry, John Berry’s son, and Robin Berry, Berry’s wife, came on stage with Berry’s old band.  They played a cover of Berry’s song, “Kiss Me in the Car”. It was great fun to watch and you could see the band was having a good time up there too.  

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

These days, he’s better known as “The New King of Swing”, but for years, Tim Rushlow served as the lead vocalist for Little Texas.  He reprised that role to sing one of that band’s biggest hits, “God Blessed Texas”. He proved no matter how many jazz rooms he can fill, he can still work a very large room of country music fans and have them all singing along.  God may have blessed Texas, but Tim Rushlow worked magic on the City Winery.

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

The hits kept coming.  Mark Wills played “19 Something”, Shenandoah brought us “Church on Cumberland Road” and Exile really delivered when they rocked out “Superlove” and “Kiss You All Over” with Trace Adkins!

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

As if enough cool stuff wasn’t going on already, out walks a legend.  A guy whose music truly crosses genres because it’s loved by so many, is Jim Messina.  He wasn’t playing around either. He wanted to be sure everyone in the room got involved, so he busted out a number he was certain people knew.  Firing up the 1972 Loggins & Messina song, “Your Mama Don’t Dance”, he had everybody singing along. In Nashville, you never know what’s going to happen, and this was one of those times you were glad you were in the house, because even though Messina is a guitar genius, he didn’t have to play alone.  He had the amazing house band and Heidi Newfield (Trick Pony) with him. Newfield dazzled on harmonica and if you weren’t lost in the moment, you weren’t there.

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

Things  slowed way down for a good reason when Darryl Worley came out on stage alone with an acoustic guitar and sang “Second Wind”.  A song he called “a healing song”, which was appropriate at a benefit show. It was beautiful how most people seemed to really quiet down and listen.  

Photo courtesy of Patti McClintic and Think Country

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

They’re one of the greatest harmony groups in all of country music.  The Oak Ridge Boys are also known for their strong faith as well as their outstanding harmonies, and they put the two together by first singing “Amazing Grace”, followed by their best-known hit, “Elvira”, which had the crowd on their feet and singing and dancing along.

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

Travis Tritt encouraged everyone to be thankful for every day they’re given and played his 2000 hit, “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive”.  He then sat alone on stage to play his country power ballad, “Anymore”. Both songs were extremely well-received.

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

He’s a superstar, but never presents himself in any manner except as that of a regular guy.  Vince Gill came out in his usual understated way to close out the show and sang, “Prove Me Wrong”.  It goes without saying that he was a favorite among guests attending the show. He let people know he’s just a normal man who happens to excel at what he does, putting them at ease by cracking jokes and telling a story before he sang.  

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic and Think Country

The evening was capped off by John Berry himself coming up to sing his song, “There Could Never Be Another Love”, for his wife Robin, which proved to be the most moving performance of the entire show, immediately followed by the finale of “We All Come Together”, performed by many of the artists in attendance.  

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Others who gave of their time and talents for the evening either by performing music or serving as emcee included the following: Chris Kulick, James Wesley, Bryan White, Devon O’Day, Tracy Lawrence, Mike Farris, Mike Terry, T. Graham Brown, Jimmy Fortune, Marty Raybon, Clint Black, Lee Roy Parnell, Lisa Stewart, Radney Foster, Crook & Chase and Darin & Brooke Aldridge.

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Think Country is so grateful to have been a part of a such a wonderful event and wishes John Berry the very best with his continued recovery.  He looked great and it’s so good to know how supportive the Nashville music community is when push comes to shove. They truly are a family. It’s even better to know that they have the Music Health Alliance to help should they need it.  

John Berry can be found:

Website:  https://www.johnberry.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JohnBerryMusic/

Instagram:  @johnberrymusic

Music Health Alliance can be found:

Website:  http://www.musichealthalliance.com/

* Featured image courtesy of 650 AM WSM









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Patti McClintic
I’m Patti. Rock music is my first love. My daughter, who was a country fan as a teenager, dragged me in when I'd drive her to school and we would have radio wars in the car. I'd have on my rock station and she would switch it to the country station. Guess who always won? As they say, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, so I did. patti@thinkcountrymusic.com First it was all modern country, but my parents were big Merle Haggard fans. I went along with them to a Merle Haggard/Phil Vassar show at the local fair and that was it. I was hooked on the Hag. Since that day, I've become a fan of bluegrass and I continue to explore all facets of the country genre. I guess you could say, I'm all in. When I'm not up to my neck in any kind of music, I enjoy genealogy, history, my granddaughters and my addiction, SongPop. I guess it could be worse, right? I'm a Buffalo, New York girl living in a Nashville, Tennessee world, and I'm livin' the dream with my husband, my dog and my two cats.
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