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Local songwriters take center stage
Bruce Burch is one of four songwriters who will be performing Sunday in Athens. - photo by Paul Elfland

For most Gainesville residents, the only chance to see hometown hero and famed songwriter Bruce Burch is at the annual John Jarrard and Friends concert.

But this Sunday he will take the stage in Athens, along with other locally grown songwriters April Cummings and Allison Weiss, for a singer/songwriter-in-the-round event organized by Cummings.

The event, which starts at a family-friendly 4 p.m. at Borders Books and Music in Athens, will also feature country songwriter Mike Dekyl.

Cummings said the group will sit in a circle, just like similar events at the Blue Bird Cafe in Nashville, play a few tunes and then talk about their inspiration or how they wrote the song. Cummings said she'll perform a combination of older and newer songs.

"Basically we'll just go in the circle and talk about (the songs) and tell the stories behind the songs," she said. "And the last 30 minutes we're going to open it up to questions and discussion. We want to give an opportunity for other musicians or artists to ask Bruce and Mike, who are veterans, questions and find out secrets or suggestions, as well as question myself or Allison, who's more or less getting started."

Weiss said she was planning on playing all new songs, some brand new and some she's planning to record on an upcoming EP due out this fall. The show won't be too far from many of her shows, she said, in that she usually precedes her songs with a little story.

"I kind of do that at every show - I tend to introduce a song and give a little back story," she said. "I'm kind of excited I'm allowed to do that at the (show)."

Weiss, who knows Cummings from open mic nights hosted by Cummings in Buford, said he's also excited to see Burch play.

"I wasn't even aware that he still performed or wrote - I thought he was just a music business professor," she said of the songwriter who started the music business program at the University of Georgia. Weiss said she met Burch last year when her class in the school's New Media Institute did a joint project with a music business class.

Cummings added that the earlier time makes the show a great chance for families to enjoy the music, too.

"This is the perfect opportunity for families because it's difficult for a family to get out (to see a concert)," she said. "And this is a great opportunity, and kids love music."