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Good tunes, good cause: Jarrard concert helps local charities
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Songwriter Shane Bridges performs during the “Future Stars in the Round” portion of Tuesday evening’s concert.

The crisp October air was perfect for Tuesday's seventh annual Bruce Burch & Friends Honor John Jarrard Concert, as people came out to enjoy the outdoor music event and support a good cause.

The annual concert event honors John Jarrard, a Gainesville native and Nashville songwriter, who died from complications of diabetes in 2001.

The concert raised funds for local charities Good News Clinic, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County, Georgia Mountain Food Bank Fund, Good News at Noon and the UGA Music Business Program.

The lawn at The Smithgall Arts Council Depot was dotted with tables and picnic blankets, and people came to eat, drink and enjoy an evening of music.

Mary Dayton and Deborah Dunagan attended the concert for the first time to support friend Mary Jennings, who performed with other singer-songwriters during the opening event.

"Both Bruce (Burch) and Mary (Jennings) went to school here. Even though they went to other places to make their careers, they're coming back to support Gainesville. Roots are important," Dunagan said.

Sandra Hunt said she has attended the John Jarrard concert for the past six years and was happy to attend the event in the cool autumn weather.

"Normally they have it in August. ... The weather couldn't be better," she said. "We love it. We love to see all the talent that's out there."

Paula and Curt Marsh have also attended the concert for the past few years, and looked forward to the show, even though they weren't familiar with the performers.

"We just come to relax and enjoy the music," Paula Marsh said.

The concert featured a variety of performers, both established songwriters and young musicians.

The event opened with local musicians who played acoustic songs in a variety of styles.

Sounds ranged from the southern rock of local Allen Nivens to the energetic pop of Athens musician Allison Weiss to Gainesville native Mary Jennings, who brought Tori Amos-like piano playing to the table.

Headliners included prolific performers and songwriters Jim McBride, Randall Bramblett, Mike Dekle, Pat Terry, Rachel Proctor, Colt Ford and Bruce Burch.

Jarrard was also a successful songwriter who wrote a number of hit songs for musicians like George Strait, Alabama, Diamond Rio, Tracy Lawrence, and others.