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Country music songwriters to share talents with Northeast Georgia

Summer concert series to benefit John Jarrard Foundation

POSTED: June 12, 2014 1:00 a.m.

The John Jarrard Foundation is bringing a bit of the Nashville music scene to Gainesville with the annual Summer Songwriter Series.

The concert series, which kicks off at 7 p.m. Saturday at Brenau Downtown Center, features songwriters new to the foundation’s concert events and some repeat entertainers who have become favorites.

“We have been doing the John Jarrard shows going on our 13th year, and we have had such a great response to the songwriters who come out and perform,” said Jody Jackson, the foundation’s executive director. “Lately, the show, ‘Nashville,’ has made the Bluebird Cafe explode to the point where you can’t even get tickets, and we are bringing those same songwriters down here two or three at a time.”

The first show of the season features Pat Alger and Rivers Rutherford, both of whom have written hit songs for multiple country artists. Alger hails from LaGrange and wrote No. 1 hits for Garth Brooks such as “Unanswered Prayers.” Rutherford has seen recent success with Gretchen Wilson’s song “Homewrecker.”

“We try to get new guys for the summer series,” Jackson said. “Of the six we have coming this year, only Gary Nicholson and Jim McBride, who are doing the July show, have been here in previous years. A few of them have so many great songs they can’t perform them all at once.”

The foundation keeps new faces coming to Gainesville thanks to board of directors member Bruce Burch’s experience in Nashville along with the connections John Jarrard made during his time there. Jackson said Jarrard knew and wrote with many of the songwriters the foundation features each year. Jarrard’s friendships encourage the musicians to support the foundation and help it raise money.

“This past September is probably the best show we’ve ever had,” Jackson said.

The difference in the summer series and the foundation’s annual concert in September is the environment.

“It’s just a different time of year to do it,” Jackson said. “It’s so hot out, so we do the same concept but more intimate in a sit-down theater with air conditioning. It’s not a sponsored-table thing, and there’s a more captive audience indoors.”

The indoor environment encourages performers to interact with the audience and have more personal moments than the enormous outdoor benefit concert in the fall.

“It’s a neat, casual thing to sit up there on bar stools and tell stories,” Jackson said. “We are fortunate to be able to bring them to Gainesville.”

Tickets for the Summer Songwriter Series are $20 per show, or attendees can purchase a three-show ticket to the June 14, July 19 and Aug. 9 shows for $50. Tickets are available at www.johnjarrardfoundation.com.


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