John Jarrard Foundation Brings Top Songwriters to Gainesville

Sep 6, 2013
Brenau Staff

12th Annual John Jarrard Festival Songwriter FestivalFive songwriters with more than 30 hit songs headline the 12th annual John Jarrard Foundation Concert Songwriters in the Round Show Sept. 20-21.

Singer/songwriters Kent Blazy, Kim Williams, Doug Johnson, Jim Collins and Bob Morrison will take the stage on Saturday, Sept. 21 on Brenau University’s Front Lawn to honor the late John Jarrard, Gainesville native and Georgia Music Hall of Fame inductee.

“We are so appreciative of these great songwriters who help honor John, entertain our community and raise money for the John Jarrard Foundation,” said Jody Jackson, John Jarrard Foundation Executive Director. “This is a very talented group of songwriters who have penned hit songs for Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Kenny Chesney, George Strait and Kenny Rogers.”

Jarrard, who grew up in Gainesville and moved to Nashville to become a songwriter, was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2011. He wrote songs for performers such as Don Williams, Alabama, George Strait, Diamond Rio and Tracy Lawrence. Jarrard battled diabetes before his death in 2001.

In its first 11 years, the John Jarrard Concert has raised more than $1 million to support some of Jarrard’s favorite charities including: Good News at Noon Clinics, Good News at Noon and Boys and Girls Clubs of Hall County. This year’s concert will also benefit the “Think About It” program, created by The Medical Association of Georgia Foundation to educate and prevent prescription drug abuse throughout the state.

This is the third straight year the concert has spanned two days. It begins on Friday, Sept. 20 with a concert on the downtown Gainesville Square headlined by David Lee Murphy and Band. Murphy has written hit songs for himself, Jason Aldean, Jake Owens, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton and Thompson Square. Berklee College of Music students and Riverstreet Again will also perform. The Berklee College of Music, one of the prominent music schools in the country, is led by Gainesville native Roger Brown, who serves as the school’s president. Berklee has produced such stars as John Mayer, Quincy Jones and Melissa Etheridge. Riverstreet Again is a Gainesville band that began performing in the 1970s and reunited two years ago. Friday night will also kick off the 10th Anniversary of Art in the Square.

The Songwriters in the Round Show on Sept. 21 headlines the two-day event, bringing together five songwriters who have written hit songs for country music’s top stars.

Blazy, a Lexington, Ky., native, wrote Garth Brooks’ hits “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” “Ain’t Goin’ Down Till the Sun Comes Up,” “Somewhere Other Than The Night” and “Beer Run (B Double E Double Are You In).” He also wrote “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song)” which was recorded by Chris Young.

Over the past 20 years, Williams has written hits for several country stars including “If The Devil Danced In Empty Pockets” by Joe Diffie, “Three Wooden Crosses” by Randy Travis, “Papa Loved Mama” by Garth Brooks, “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” by Reba McEntire and “My Blue Angel” by Aaron Tippen.

Johnson, who was born in Swainsboro, Ga., penned “Love Like Crazy” for Lee Brice, “Skin (Sarabeth)” performed by Rascal Flatts, “She Won’t Be Lonely Long” for Clay Walker and “Living in a Moment” by Ty Herndon.

Collins, a singer/songwriter from Texas, has written three hits for Chesney “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,” “The Good Stuff” and “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven.” He also wrote Strait’s “It Just Comes Natural,” Jason Aldean’s “Big Green Tractor” and Thompson Square’s “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not.”

Morrison, who has been honored as the American Society for Composers, Authors, and Publishers Songwriter of the Year several times, penned “You Decorated My Life” and “Love the World Away” for Rogers, “Looking for Love” by Johnny Lee and “Shine On” by George Jones. He also wrote the Conway Twitty/Loretta Lynn duet “I Still Believe in Waltzes,” Twitty’s “Don’t Call Him A Cowboy,” The Dixie Chicks’ “Tonight the Heartaches On Me” and Highway 101’s “Whiskey If You Were A Woman.”

Tickets are $20 each and table sponsorships are available by calling 770-710-9191. Tickets can be purchased online at