John Berry recorded this latest in the basement of his Athens, Ga. home, and while it doesn't exactly sound homemade, it does retain a little more warmth than your average slick studio creation.
Berry has always sung with a sincere heart-on-his-sleeve sound to his voice, and this album is true to that established form. In a sense, his performances are closer to Christopher Cross's adult contemporary odes, instead of traditional country music. His musical backing also settles for more pop and less twang, most of the time.
His religious faith also separates his subject matter from the hard luck lifestyles exhibited by many of his contemporaries. "You Make Me Believe" speaks of the kind of faith that can get one through the information overload of daily life, and "Sanctuary" describes a place to go when it all just gets to be too much.
The downside to Berry's songs (many of which he also had a hand in writing) is that they rely too heavily upon broad generalizations. "She took shades of gray," goes "Everybody Knows," "and turned them into colors." He only thinks everybody knows, one is left to believe.
This may have been made in his familiar home setting, but Berry doesn't allow his guests to see very much of how he really lives.