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Longtime songwriter to share talents at Jarrard benefit
Collaborations with Stax Records artists led to many hits for Cropper
0917Jarrard-SteveCropper
Steve Cropper will be one of the performers at this year’s John Jarrard Foundation benefit concert.

John Jarrard Foundation Concert
When: 6 p.m. Sept. 24
Where: Brenau University front lawn, 500 Washington St., Gainesville
How much: $30
More info: 770-710-9191

Among this year’s performers

  • Roger Cook ("I’d Like To Teach The World to Sing")
  • Buddy Cannon ("Set "Em Up Joe," "Just Give It Away," "I’ve Come To Expect It From You")
  • Gary Nicholson ("One More Last Chance," "Trouble With The Truth," "Old Weakness")
  • Jimmy Hall (founding member of Wet Willie, co-writer and singer of "Keep On Smiling")
  • Georgia’s own John Berry ("Your Love Amazes Me," "Kiss Me In The Car," "She’s Taken A Shine")

The John Jarrard Foundation
Gainesville native John Jarrard went to Nashville, Tenn., in 1977 to be a country music songwriter. Shortly after, he began to lose his sight from complications from diabetes. He succumbed to the disease in February 2001. To carry on Jarrard’s memory, a group of friends, including fellow songwriter and Gainesville native Bruce Burch, organized a benefit concert.
This year will mark the eighth year Burch and a dedicated group of friends have carried the torch for their friend, holding the Bruce Burch and Friends Concert honoring John Jarrard.
Local charities supported by the John Jarrard Foundation include Good News at Noon, The Good News Clinic, The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Georgia and the Georgia Mountain Food Bank.
From staff reports

For the past seven years in September, musicians and songwriters converge in Gainesville to honor one man — Gainesville native and Nashville, Tenn., star John Jarrard.

This year is no different as the John Jarrard Foundation welcomes six longtime musicians for the eighth installment of the benefit show. Notable guitarist and an original Blues Brother, Steve Cropper, joins songwriters Jimmy Hall, Gary Nicholson, John Berry, Roger Cook and Buddy Cannon. They will take the stage in just one week to raise money for a variety of local charities.

Cropper, known for co-writing songs like "(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay," "In the Midnight Hour" and "634-5789," said he didn’t know John Jarrard personally but is ready to help out with the cause and play some music with longtime friends, such as Roger Cook, Gary Nicholson and Jimmy Hall.

Cropper, who has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, will play all of his most popular hits from his long music career.

"I’ll mainly be doing the hits that people know and try to get people dancing," he said. "... I grew up being a band member so I’m not real good at the guitar pulls where they get eight guys that wrote songs in a circle and they sing their songs for everybody — I need a band. So we got a band and we’ll get people rockin,’ and Jimmy Hall will probably sit in with me and play harmonica, saxophone and some blues."

After years of collaborations with artists and producing for Stax Records, Cropper said he still has one favorite artist to work with —Eddie
Floyd, who wrote and recorded "Knock on Wood."

"Kind of the way we did it at Stax (Records) ... I guess we refer to it as a production pool and it was really the main guys that wrote songs, and the main guys like Booker T. and the MGs were the staff backup band playing on those records. And we formed a production pool with six guys," Cropper said. "Most of the artists, including Otis Redding, would come in and wouldn’t have finished songs. They would have ideas and they would come in and get with us and we would go into a hotel room or a writer’s room and collaborate and finish these songs up that we would produce and record the next day."

Cropper said the turnaround was so quick with the recordings that the tracks always were current.

"Nowadays if a songwriter writes a song, he’s lucky if he gets it out in a year," he said. "But in those days we could get the album out in a week or two."

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