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Youve heard their songs, now hear the songwriters
Concert honors John Jarrard, raises money for community
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Eighth annual concert benefitting the John Jarrard Foundation

When: 6-10 p.m. today
Where: The lawn in front of Pearce Auditorium, Brenau University, 500 Washington St. SE, Gainesville
How much: $30, $25 each in blocks of five or more
More info: Purchase tickets at the North Georgia Community Foundation and Greens Grocery in Gainesville

Their names may not be listed among the titles of your CD collection, but the performers tonight at the John Jarrard benefit concert probably had a big hand in making many of them.

Musicians such as Steve Cropper, Roger Cook, Buddy Cannon and Gary Nicholson have had a hand in lots of No. 1 hits spanning decades. And then there's the fact that Cropper is in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and Nicholson has a couple of Grammy awards.

These artists, plus Jimmy Hall, John Berry and a few local songwriters, will take to the stage tonight on the lawn in front of Pearce Auditorium at Brenau University in Gainesville for the eighth annual concert honoring John Jarrard, the Gainesville native who went on to find songwriting fame in Nashville, Tenn., before he died in 2001.

Because Jarrard was a songwriter first and foremost, his friends, notably fellow Gainesville native Bruce Burch, decided a benefit concert highlighting other songwriters would be a good way to continue Jarrard's legacy.

Today, the concert raises money for several local charities, including Good News at Noon, the Good News Clinics, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society — Georgia Chapter and the Georgia Mountain Food Bank.

Jody Jackson, executive director of the John Jarrard Foundation, said the support from the community has been invaluable in the final few weeks before the concert.

"We're a little off on sponsorships, but we're up on ticket sales and table sales," he said. "It's amazing how this community comes together to help so many different local charities."

Jackson said the event will be memorable this year because the final act - musician Steve Cropper, whose hits include "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay," "In the Midnight Hour" and "Knock on Wood" — will be performing his memorable songs with a full band. Plus, other performers might even join him on stage for the final few songs.

"It's just songs, if you're in your 40s to 60s, you grew up listening to," Jackson said. "It's just unbelievable that a guy who wrote these songs will come to Gainesville, Georgia, for our benefit."

The evening's events also feature a live auction with items such as a lease on a new car, a quail hunting trip, tickets to the University of Georgia-University of Florida football game and an Atlanta Falcons jersey signed by Mike Turner.

"After that we'll bring up Steve Cropper and Jimmy Hall," Jackson said. "It's just going to be an amazing way to do a finale."