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The Apple Didn’t Fall Far From The Tree

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Sean Berry: The Apple Didn’t Fall Far From The Tree

By Johnny Griffith

When he walks up on the stage, Sean Berry looks like he would be more at home chasing quarterbacks on a football field than standing in front of a microphone holding a guitar.

Then he starts to sing and the soulful raspy voice combined and the nimble guitar work, lets you know he is right where he was meant to be.

Born in 1994 to country music performers and raised in Athens, Georgia, Sean grew up playing football, hunting, fishing, and living on a farm. From the time he was born until around 4 years old, he was constantly on the road with his parents, touring. In fact so much of his early years were spent on the road around music, he remembers stepping off the tour bus as a child at his home and not realizing that this was actually his home!

Berry was a stand up football player, winning several awards in the process, but also took chorus in high school, which went a long way towards refining the natural talent already there.

After a couple of years of college, the music bug finally grabbed complete control of Sean, and he moved to Nashville to pursue a career in music. Several years later, fate and circumstances did what they do best, and now Sean calls East Texas home; he plays regularly in venues around the region. We caught up to him this month to talk about his background, his music, and what brought him to East Texas.

Johnny: When did you first show an interest in music?

Sean: Growing up in a music family, I’ve always had a love for music. However, I never felt pressured to be a musician. My parents wanted me to play sports and do whatever I wanted. They were extremely supportive through all my endeavors. My music journey started when I was in 6th grade. My father had bought me a Fender Stratocaster and started to teach me some basics. Soon after that I began taking lessons at a local studio called the School of Rock. It was there where I really fell in love with 70’s and 80’s rock n’ roll. I was a huge Boston fan because of their heavy guitar sound. I originally wanted to just be a lead guitarist.

Johnny: You came from a family full of musicians. How did that influence your path in music?

Sean: With my father being a big name in country music during the 90’s, you would think I grew up listening to a lot of country music. That wasn’t the case. I listened to a lot of rock n’ roll and southern rock because that’s what my dad loved. Boston, Styx, Journey, Lynard Skynard, Marshall Tucker Band, Allman Brothers, Doobie Brothers, and many more were huge influences. I never listened to a ton of country music until the last 5 years. Now my playlist consist of a lot of classic country: George Jones, Strait, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Hank Jr., etc. I also listen to singer/songwriters like John Denver, Jason Isbell, and then of course, a ton of Texas country.

Johnny: When did you decide this life was something you had an interest in pursuing?

Sean: I’ve always loved music and thought it would be cool to do for a living but I never really believed I could make that happen until I moved to Nashville. That’s where I really began to hone in on my own writing style and perfect my craft as an artist.

Johnny: Speaking of Nashville, how was that experience and what lessons did you come away with that you still use today?

Sean: Nashville was awesome. I love that town. I got to meet and write with a lot of incredible people during my time there. I learned a lot about myself as a writer. The main thing I took away from being there is to stay creative. Think outside the box. Be original.

Johnny: Your bio says you met your wife while on a trip to Texas playing a gig. Tell us a little about how that went down.

Sean: I was actually opening for my dad at the Belcher Center in Longview and my wife’s entire family was there and she was at home babysitting her brother and cousins. My mother in law, and now Aunt, were sending Kayla pictures of me on stage saying, “We found your soulmate… we found your husband.” Kayla’s aunt came up to me after the show and asked how old I was, if I had a CD, and if I was single. She then proceeded to show me a picture of Kayla. I was blown away. Usually I tell people I have a girlfriend simply for the fact that you meet some “out there” people on the road but for whatever reason I told them I was single. Later that night I had a follow on my Instagram page and it was her. I followed her back and sent her a message saying that I met her family and that they had nothing but good things to say about her. We exchanged phone numbers and talked everyday for three weeks. February 13th, I flew to DFW, she picked me up, and I immediately knew that I was going to marry her. That’s a pretty terrifying feeling for a 20 year old! Nine months later I moved to Texas. We were married December 31, 2016.

Johnny: Has the move to Texas changed the way you approach your music?

Sean: I wouldn’t say its changed my approach. I definitely have a new found love for Texas country. I just write what I like and what I feel. That’s what I’ve always done and it just happens to resonate with Texas country. I’ve never been one to write the “mainstream sound,”…not that I think it’s bad, it’s just not me.

Johnny: How would you describe your current style?

Sean: My music style is a reflection of my southern family roots. I grew up on a dirt road in an educated, rural town outside Athens, Georgia. My Dad is a singer songwriter and my Mom a back up singer. I was taught to enjoy all kinds of music, loved by my parents, never lacked for anything, and taught how to appreciate simplicity and God’s nature. My music is home grown.

Johnny: How much of your set is typically originals versus cover tunes?

Sean: I would say it’s pretty even. I try to play covers that will get people’s attention, and then play originals when they are really into it and listening.

Johnny: Where do you typically draw inspiration from for your writing?

Sean: Everyday life. It could be a sign on the road, the trees blowing, a fire burning, something I see on TV, the loving touch of my wife. To be a good songwriter, which I don’t claim to be, you have to be able to see the beauty and rawness in everything. See something, break it down, describe it. The inspiration for my song “Wildfire” came from sitting around a fire at my in-laws. I sat there looking at this fire burning and I thought about how beautiful fire is too look at and watch, but also how destructive it can be. I took that thought and turned it into how a toxic relationship can destroy you, just like a wildfire.

Johnny: Obviously with your background and path, you’ve played a lot of shows and made a lot of memories along the way. We’re going to assume meeting your future wife would be your best memory from a show…what would you say your second best memory on the journey has been so far?

Sean: I had the opportunity to play guitar with my Dad at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. I didn’t sing or even say a word into a microphone, but I got to stand on a stage where so many legends stood, and play music to a sold out crowd. That is one of the highlights of my life so far.

Johnny: What’s on the agenda for 2018? Big shows, new recordings?

Sean: I’ll be recording a new record in the next few months. I’m beyond excited to get new fresh music out to people. I really believe this record will open a lot of doors for me as an artist and get me into some bigger venues with bigger audiences.

Johnny: Where can people catch you live over the next couple of months?

Sean: The Central Station in Gladewater, Open Range in Gilmer, and various other places in East Texas. I’m also booking a few dates in February/March for full band shows. That will definitely be one to see. Full band gigs are awesome because the show is completely different than an acoustic set.

For more information on Sean Berry and upcoming shows:

 

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August 18th: A Rock ‘n Roll Summer of CESSE Fun

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Visitors of the Center for Earth & Space Science Education (CESSE) at Tyler Junior College will have a lot of fun this month.

Most shows offer tickets for $5. Tickets for All Day passes are $12 for adults and $9 for students, children, and senior citizens. Exhibit only tickets are $3. Tickets can be purchased at sciencecenter.tjc.edu.

CESSE is open Tuesday-Friday 9:30am-4:30pm, and Saturday 10am-4:30pm. CESSE is located on the Tyler Junior College campus at 1411 E. Lake St., Tyler.

Rock ‘n Roll Saturday

Rock ‘n Roll Saturday is fun for the entire family! Two shows will be presented. July 21st “SpacePark360” will be shown at 7pm and “Rock on Demand” at 8pm. August 18th the two shows will be shown again.

“SpacePark360” takes audiences on a wild, immersive ride through the solar system, recreating the experience of amusement park thrill rides – roller coasters, pendulums, inverters, and more. Seen from the rider’s perspective, “SpacePark360” combines full dome technology with thrill rides to create a heart-pounding experience.

“Rock on Demand” fills the entire 40-foot domed theater with vibrant graphics, completely enveloping visitors in a 360-degree view while the 16,000-watt, digital surround sound system plays rock hits ranging from the Beatles and Rolling Stones to The Doors and Aerosmith.

Tickets are $5 for each show. This is fun for the entire family!

Dome Shows

CESSE offers a variety of Dome Shows. Call for availability in the event field trips may have been scheduled. Daily show schedules are:

10am – Children’s Show

11am – “SpacePark360”

12 noon – “National Parks Adventure”

1pm – “Dream Big: Engineering Our World”

2pm – “Extreme Weather”

3pm – “Space Next”

4pm – “Moons: Worlds of Mystery”

New this month is “Extreme Weather.” Weather has always been one of the most dynamic and complex forces shaping our planet, but now it’s intensifying in varied and complex ways. “Extreme Weather” takes us to the front lines where few have gone. Among the melting tidewater glaciers of Alaska, National Geographic Emerging Explorer Dr. Erin Pettit leads a young team of researchers into the splash zone at the face of Dawes Glacier aboard a boat custom-designed to get as close as possible to the calving ice. Using a variety of instruments, her team works to measure the rate of melting to help build a more accurate model of global ocean level rise.

A FREE Star Party Saturday

June 2nd (ongoing the first Saturday of each month), you can see a Star Party in a live presentation in CESSE’s 40-foot planetarium dome. This is a unique opportunity for families to view the beautiful heavens of east Texas. Best of all, it is completely FREE!

Learn all about the stars, the planets, and the constellations as you take a tour of the night sky and travel to distant planets and beyond. There will also be a TJC astronomy professor with telescopes set up outside (weather permitting) for you to gaze at the astronomical objects with your own eyes until 10pm.

Live Sky shows will be at 8pm, 8:30pm, and 9pm. Telescope viewing will be 8-10pm.

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Around East Texas

Amy Holden Concert Benefiting Children’s Miracle Network, Aug. 24th


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For one night only, east Texas singer-songwriter Amy Holden is set to perform live in concert at Liberty Hall on Friday, August 24th at 8pm.

Amy’s friends, Cole Risner, Meredith Crawford, and Milo Deering are also set to perform.

Fresh off her single release, “Best Time” on Texas Red Dirt Radio, Amy brings a new soulful twang with her style and flavor of upbeat country music to Tyler. Amy, a Nashville and Texas recording artist, has performed from New Zealand to the House of Blues. Bring the whole family to this family-friendly event and be prepared to be thoroughly entertained.

100% of proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Children’s Miracle Network. This fundraising event is sponsored by Texas Strong Promotions, Fire Dog Records, and Amy Holden Music Group.

Liberty Hall is located at 103 E. Erwin, Downtown Tyler. Tickets are available at libertytyler.com.


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East Texas State Fair Returns Sept. 21st-30th!

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East Texas State Fair to Bring Lots of Festivities!

The 2018 East Texas State Fair takes place September 21st-30th in Tyler.

The annual East Texas State Fair is set to host an estimated 250,000 visitors during the ten-day event to enjoy concerts, shows, rides, food, exhibits, and much more. Here’s a look at just some of the festivities to come:

Sheldon Casavant, Magician: World-renowned magician Sheldon Casavant takes the stage in the historic Mayfair building for an amazing show full of laughter, thrills, and impressive illusions. The show is featured each night during the fair at 8pm. The show is set to be as impressive as the 100-year-old building it’s hosted in. The historic Mayfair building was built in the late 1920’s and has seen musicians such as Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and so many more. While the building hasn’t been used in many years, fair organizers are opening it up once again for this spectacular show. Every Day.

The Craft Beer Tour: New to the fair this year the craft beer tour is an event you don’t want to miss. Craft breweries from all over Texas will gather in the upscale venue to present their beers to the public. For just $15 you can purchase a passport to sample up to 24 different beers from all over the State of Texas. So gather your friends and embark on a craft beer adventure. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the Fair.

The Summit: The ultimate party in the heart of the Fair! The Summit is an all-new venue for live music, beer, margaritas, and a great place to hang out with friends and family. The Summit stage will feature live local music from artist such as Ray Johnston Band, Billie Jo Sewell, Holly Tucker, Sabrina Toole, and many more. Every Day.

Chili Cook-Off: Come enjoy samples of chili from over 30 different teams as they compete for the prize of “Grand Champion.” It’s going to be a great place to hang out with live music, cold beer, and plenty of delicious chili. Interested in having a team of your own? Gather your friends, family, co-workers, etc. and register to compete. Sunday, September 23rd beginning at 9am.

Sea Lion Splash: Sea Lion Splash is a unique show that will have crowds cheering and laughing. It’s an educational show with a “splash.” The sea lions will amaze the crowd as they balance balls, shoot hoops, dance, perform stunts, and show their pretty smiles. This is the only show in the U.S. to feature both California and South American sea lions.

Timberworks: You’ll love this fast-paced thrilling show as two authentic lumberjacks go head-to-head in a variety of competitions. These include log rolling, cross-cut sawing, hot sawing, axe throwing, chainsaw carving, chopping, and speed pole climbing. Timberwork’s Lumberjack Show offers spectators a unique blend of logging history, world class competition, and plenty of hilarious comedy. Every Day.

The Sound Exchange: The Sound Exchange is a five member a cappella group bringing dazzling harmonies, and wise-cracking audience interaction together in a whirlwind a cappella experience that is not to be missed. Whether you love soulful ballads, blistering rock anthems, jazz standards, or chart-topping singles…. or, perhaps you just love to laugh and have fun. Then, you’re in for a treat with the hijinks & harmonies of The Sound Exchange. Every Day

That’s not all! The Fair will be full of a variety of exhibits, attractions, rides, games, and more. From fair favorites like the petting zoo, pony rides, and the legendary food row to a variety of exhibits like AgriWorld, Creative Arts, and The Marketplace there’s sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.

This impressive lineup of all things new to do at the Fair will not disappoint- there’s truly something for everyone. And let’s not forget all the favorite returning attractions:

The Great American Petting Zoo: This petting zoo is unlike any other- held within a 1,200 square foot enclosure, each animal runs freely with the public once inside. A favorite among kiddos, these friendly animals- all hand raised here in Texas- make for a ton of fun in this barrier-free petting zoo. The space is kept immaculately clean, and trained petting zoo staff are always available for any questions. Open every single day of the Fair, find more info here: etstatefair.com/events/2018/great-american-petting-zoo(17)/

The Pony Rides: Your kid will thank you for this one! Come let them experience a real live pony ride, carousel style. For $5, these beautiful, purebred Welsh ponies will take your kiddos for a ride they won’t soon forget. Presented by Pony Express of Texas, these local ponies are safe, clean, and a whole lotta fun. Happening everyday of the fair, find more info here: etstatefair.com/events/2018/pony-rides/

Carnival Rides and Games: As always, the Fair won’t leave you hanging if you’re in need of some thrill or friendly competition. You’ll find tons of exciting rides like The Freak Out, The Tornado, and The Ring of Fire, along with plenty of gaming fun this year at the Fair. For detailed schedule and pricing info, head here: etstatefair.com/p/entertainment-/carnival-rides

Legendary Food Row: Mac & Cheese Fries, Chocolate Covered Fried Bacon, Chili Dogs, Turkey Legs, 4 Meat Baked Potato, Fried Cheesecake…need we say more? The options available at Food Row are endless- wear your comfy pants and your maybe belt a tad loose, because everyone knows there’s no such thing as a diet during the Fair. This is the real deal, folks- find a list of all the different vendors and food offerings here (it’s crazy long!): etstatefair.com/p/entertainment-/food-row

A Ride Share: a special new drop-off lane for coming and going to the fair, made for guests who use a Rideshare service for transportation instead of driving themselves. That’s right folks: this is the year that Fair parking woes and hassles will finally come to an end, leaving you with more important things to worry about (like whether to order a smoked turkey leg or funnel cake..or both.)

“Our goal is to take some of the strain off of our parking lots and make it easier for visitors to come and go safely. The lane will literally drop you off right at the North gate. You’ll step out of your car and walk right in!” -Cody Rosenbalm, Director of Marketing at Park of East Texas.

The drop-off lane is located at the intersection of Front St. (Hwy 31) and Fair Park Dr. The lane is only accessible when traveling eastbound on Front St. (Hwy 31) from the Loop towards downtown.

It’s hard to believe how much there is to offer at this year’s Fair- the organizers have gone above and beyond to ensure an unforgettable experience for each and every guest.

And don’t forget- there’s still SO much more to see and do at the Fair in addition to this incredible curation of attractions. Whether it be the Photography Contest, the Livestock Show, Senior Day Bingo, or the countless exhibits in The Marketplace, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Gear up, everybody- The East Texas State Fair plans to blow it out of the water for 2018. See you there!

For more information or to get tickets go to etstatefair.com.

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