Renowned songwriters Rivers Rutherford, left, and Pat Alger, right, headline the Summer Songwriters Series at the first show Saturday, June 14, at the Brenau University Downtown Center. 

2014 Summer Songwriters Series Gets Underway

Jun 11, 2014
Brenau Staff

The 2014 John Jarrard Summer Songwriters Series returns to Brenau University’s Downtown Center, located at 301 Main St. in Gainesville. Concert dates are June 14, July 19, and Aug. 9, each show beginning at 7:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 each or $50 per person to attend all three shows. Table sponsorships are available by calling 770-710-9191. Tickets can be purchased online at

For university alumni only, the Brenau Alumni Association is offering a pre-concert reception before the June 14 show to gather and meet the musicians. Alumni may register at

“Brenau is excited to have these legendary songwriters join us to perform their incredible music,” said Bruce Burch, the executive in residence for Brenau’s mass communications department. “You’ll get a chance to hear the songs as they were ‘birthed’ by these talented tunesmiths.”

This year’s series of shows brings together six renowned musical artists: Rivers Rutherford and Pat Alger on June 14, Jim McBride and Gary Nicholson on July 19, and, Chuck Cannon and Lari White on Aug. 9.

Rivers Rutherford, a Memphis, Tennessee native, has written songs including “When I Get Where I’m Going,” “Ain’t Nothing ’Bout You,” “Real Good Man” and “Smoke Rings in the Dark.” His big break came in 1989 when four American icons Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson recorded his song, “American Remains,” as the Highwaymen. Artists including Gretchen Wilson, Gary Allan, Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes, Keith Urban, Trick Pony, Blake Shelton, Deana Carter, Clay Davidson, Jamie O’Neal and Andy Griggs have recorded Rutherford’s songs.  He has also released a solo CD called Just Another Coaster.

Pat Alger had his first hit “First Time Love” with folk-pop artist Livingston Taylor in 1980, then decided to move from LaGrange, Georgia, to Nashville, Tennessee. Artists like Mickey Gilley, Dolly Parton, Brenda Lee and the Everly Brothers have recorded his material. Pat’s songwriting collaborations with Garth Brooks yielded four #1 records, as well as the Trisha Yearwood hit “Like We Never Had A Broken Heart.” In 1991, Pat was named NSAI Songwriter of the Year. In 1992, he was ASCAP’s Country Songwriter of the Year.

Jim McBride, born in Huntsville, Alabama, is a CMA Award-winning, Grammy-nominated songwriter and former President of the Nashville Songwriters Association International. His writing career spans over 30 years and includes over 100 album cuts, 18 top 40 singles, 10 top ten singles and 6 number ones. His songs have been recorded by more than 80 major label artist including George Jones, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, Johnny Paycheck, Randy Travis, Alabama, Trace Adkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Crystal Gayle, Diamond Rio, Lonestar and many others.

Gary Nicholson, from Garland, Texas, is a number-one hit songwriter, a two time Grammy winning producer, recording artist, world traveling performer, and session guitarist. In 2011 he was inducted into the Texas Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. There are over five hundred recordings of his songs in various genres including country, rock, blues, folk, bluegrass, and pop. The song “Falling and Flying “ is featured in the Oscar-winning film “Crazy Heart” performed by Jeff Bridges. ”Peace Dream” recorded by Ringo Starr was co-written by Gary, Ringo, and Gary Wright and features Paul McCartney on bass.

One of Greenville, South Carolina native Chuck Cannon’s first notable compositions was “I Love the Way You Love Me”, a No. 1 hit for John Michael Montgomery in 1993. Cannon worked on several songs with Toby Keith, and in 1992 he opened his own publishing company, Wacissa River Music, Inc.  He was elected President of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (2001-2003). His songs “How Do You Like Me Now?!” and “I Love the Way You Love Me” earned Eight-Million-Air awards from Broadcast Music Incorporated for receiving eight million spins at radio. Cannon also self-released two albums: God Shaped Hole and Love and Money in 2006 and 2008, respectively.

Lari White of Dunedin, Florida, is an award-winning recording artist, hit songwriter and producer, and indie record label owner. Her music has earned three Grammys and RIAA Gold. Her most recent studio album, Green Eyed Soul, was hailed by the London Times as the best soul album of the year.  She is the first female producer of a male superstar, producing Toby Keith’s platinum album White Trash with Money.  Her songwriting credits include Tammy Wynette, Toby Keith, Lonestar, Danny Gokey, and Pat Green.  She has sung with the NY Pops, Boston Pops, and the Atlanta and Nashville Symphonies.

The John Jarrard Foundation has grown from an annual concert to a regionally-recognized organization supporting songwriters and a number of great causes. Beginning in 2000, the foundation was established in the memory of dear friend and Georgia Music Hall of Fame member John Jarrard. 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.

Over the past ten years, the John Jarrard Foundation has raised more than $1 million, with the proceeds going to a permanent endowment fund in Jarrard’s name established at the North Georgia Community Foundation. Proceeds benefit local charities, including the Good News Clinics, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hall County, Georgia Mountain Food Bank Fund and one of John’s favorite causes, Good News at Noon Shelter.

Tickets are $20 a person for each show, or $50 a person to attend all three shows. Table sponsorships are available by calling 770-710-9191. Tickets can be purchased online at