‘Standing On the Edge” is more than an album title for country star John Berry. It’s the story of his life.
The 35-year-old Athens, Ga.-based singer-songwriter could write a book about what’s happened to him in the past year.
He’s a walking, talking miracle.
To say the least.
Last spring, after receiving a phone call from his expectant wife, Robin, and getting the exciting “now’s the time, dear” news, Berry rushed from a gig in Washington, D.C., to Atlanta to be by her side. Only, he was too late – his son, Sean, was born an hour and a half before Berry arrived.
“While I was in the hospital, I was sitting in the hallway and feeling awful,” Berry said. “Of course, before this, I had already lost 50 pounds; I didn’t eat anymore … I mean, I eat all the time. The first clue was: I’m not eating, something’s really wrong here. And I couldn’t sleep. I was nauseated all the time.
“I have a family history of this: My mother died of an aneurysm, and my father had an aneurysm in 1957 and had surgery and survived it, so of course I had a phobia about having one, too.”
A nurse took him to the emergency room and, the next morning, a CAT-scan confirmed his worst fears: a cyst deep in the brain.
On May 10, doctors drained fluid from the benign cyst during a nearly six-hour operation at Emory University Hospital.
“I think I put 60 pounds back on three hours after the surgery,” Berry said, with a laugh. “My memory’s clearing up … I still have a problem with a couple of things, but nothing major.”
Since then, it’s been all uphill for the soulful crooner: After two singles from his self-titled debut album (on Liberty) fizzled in ’93, the third single – “Your Love Amazes Me” – was the charm, taking him to No. 1 on Billboard’s country chart shortly after the surgery. The album was certified gold for sales of more than 500,000 copies; his fifth single, “You and Only You” is currently No. 4 on the chart, and he’s nominated for his first Grammy, for Best Male Country Vocalist.
His second album, “Standing On the Edge,” is scheduled for a March 7 release, preceded by the single, “Standing On the Edge of Goodbye,” which will be shipped to radio Feb. 14.
Berry jumps from Liberty to sister-label Patriot to become the company’s flagship artist, and if that’s not enough, he also contributed a version of “The Long and Winding Road” for Liberty’s upcoming Beatles tribute album.
“I’ve worked hard for this, and I continue to work really hard,” Berry said. “We’re going to do 250 shows this year. I drag my family with me all over the country because it makes it better for us to hang together.
“And now we’ve got another baby due in July. Things couldn’t be better.”