By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Songwriters belt out hit tunes for John Jarrard Foundation
Jeff Stevens

14th annual John Jarrard Foundation Concert
When: 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12
Where: Brenau University front lawn, 500 Washington St., Gainesville
Cost: $20
More info:

Five singer-songwriters with more than two dozen No. 1 singles will pay tribute with a concert to a Gainesville native and country music songwriter who made a name for himself in Nashville.

The 14th annual John Jarrard Foundation Concert will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, on the front lawn of Brenau University, 500 Washington St., in downtown Gainesville. Tickets are $20 and available at

“I think we’ve built a representation of putting on good shows, because of that people won’t necessarily know these peoples names, (but) they know the songs that they’ve written,” said Bruce Burch, executive in residence at Brenau University.

As concertgoers await the performance, they can feast on food from Johnny’s Barbecue and quench their thirst with beer and wine. 

The venue itself adds character to the show, Burch said, comparing it to a mix between Chastain Park in Atlanta and the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville.

“I think people will be real surprised if they haven’t ever been, at how fun and how much they will enjoy the show,” he said.

One of the singer-songwriters featured is Wendell Mobley, who co-wrote songs with Jarrard and had performed in the past at the concert in Gainesville.

“We’ve been trying to get him back here for some years,” Burch said. “So we were finally able to get him.”

The musician will sing with songs including “There Goes My Life” and “How Forever Feels,” recorded by Kenny Chesney and “Fast Cars and Freedom” by Rascal Flatts.

Others on the concert lineup include:

  • Nashville artist Jeff Stevens, who will perform popular songs that helped George Strait, Tim McGraw and Luke Bryan top the charts.
  • Jason Sellars who helped write “Don’t You Want to Stay” performed by Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson.
  • Marc Beeson, who has written hits for Restless Heart, Billy Currington and Garth Brooks
  • Bonnie Bishop, a rising star in the songwriting community as well as a Grammy winner who will sing “Not Cause I Wanted To” made famous by Bonnie Raitt.

All of these guys are talented singers,” Burch said. “You’ll find that they are as talented as the singers who had the hits with the song. In some cases their versions are actually good, if not better than the artist who records the song.

“These guys’ hits fall outside the country realm,” he continued. “So it’s sort of a little bit of everything, a taste of all kind of music.”

The level of talent at the show indicates not only Jarrard’s impact on country music but the growth of the fundraising concert. The first year, 250 people attended. Last year, the concertgoers numbered 1,200.

“It’s really grown a lot over the years,” Burch said. “It’s a big concert now. It takes us a lot of planning.”

This year, several sponsored tables, ranging in price from $500 to $2,500, have sold. It points to another successful year.

“We’re on track to have one of the best years we’ve ever had,” Burch said. “We’ve got a few tables left and they’re going fast.”

With the funds raised from the concert, the John Jarrard Foundation can support several local charities.

“They are usually local charities that John (Jarrard) supported when he was alive,” said Burch, who added Jarrard was actively involved and made donations to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County and Good News At Noon.

For more information about the John Jarrard Foundation or how to purchase tickets, visit