By SHANNON WATKINS
Ralph Berrier Jr. comes by his musical ability naturally. Two of his male relatives – his grandfather, Clayton Hall, and uncle, Saford Hall – played mountain music in the 1930s and ’40s, from Roanoke to the Grand Ole Opry. Berrier sets a more modest standard for himself as a regular at the Radford Fiddle and Banjo Jam, and as the leader of the Java Brothers, though anyone who’s heard him play the fiddle and sing knows he’s got talent to spare.
A reporter for the Roanoke Times, Berrier wrote a book about his relatives’ escapades called “If Trouble Don’t Kill Me,” a biography of the family duo who started out in The Hollow in Carroll County and wound up on the brink of true stardom before being separated by enlistment in World War II.
For anyone who wishes to hear the story of Berrier’s family live, he will be reading from his book during Radford University’s Creative Arts Week, sponsored by the Department of Student Activities and the English Club. Accompanying his reading will be music by the Java Brothers.
The reading and music are free and open to the public, and will take place on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Hurlburt Student Center (The Bonnie), located on the Radford University campus.