Hit songwriters Bob Dipiero, Wyatt Durrette, Tony Lane and Johnny Bulford share the stage at the 16th Annual John Jarrard Foundation Songwriting Concert in Gainesville on on Sept. 16, 2017. The outdoor concert takes place on the Brenau University Front Lawn. Tickets are $20 here and sponsored tables are available by calling (770) 710-9191. All proceeds benefit the John Jarrard Foundation, a non-profit foundation supporting an endowment fund that provides donations to North Georgia charities including the Good News Clinics, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hall County, Georgia Mountain Food Bank Fund and Good News at Noon Shelter.
John Jarrard was born and reared in Gainesville, Georgia, and moved to Nashville in 1977 to pursue a career as a country music songwriter. Within one year, he began to experience sight failure resulting from diabetes, and by 1979, he was totally blind. John, however, continued to pursue his career as a songwriter, and when Don Williams recorded his song, “Nobody But You,” taking it to the top of the charts, doors began to open. Over the ensuing years, John’s songs were recorded by the group Alabama, George Strait, Diamond Rio, Tracy Lawrence, and others, until he had scored 11 number one hits.
Though his continued commitment to his career was an inspiration to all who knew John Jarrard, diabetes did not take a back seat. Eventually, he endured two kidney transplants and the amputation of both legs, but rebounded each time with the attitude that God would strengthen him. He worked to raise more than $100,000 for research, awareness and education programs at the American Diabetes Association. However, on Feb. 1, 2001, John lost his battle with the disease.
Bruce Burch, Jarrard’s lifelong friend, fellow Gainseville native and hit country music songwriter, hosted the firs ant concert to benefit the John Jarrard Foundation in . Over the years, the annual gathering has grown into a premier songwriting event and has raised more than $1.5 million for charities in the past 16 years.
Bob DiPiero, a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, has penned 15 #1 hits and countless Top 20 hits for a who’s who of country superstars including Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Patty Loveless, Billy Currington, Brooks & Dunn and many more. Among his hits are “Mirror Mirror” (1992) for Diamond Rio, “Take Me As I Am” (1994) for Faith Hill, “Blue Clear Sky” (1996) for George Strait and “Boys Like You” (2015) for Who Is Fancy featuring Meghan Trainor and Ariana Grande.
Longtime Zac Brown collaborator Wyatt Durrette co-wrote ZBB’s breakout hit, “Chicken Fried,” as well as subsequent hits “Colder Weather,” “Sweet Annie,” “Toes” and “Goodbye In Her Eyes.”
Tony Mac Lane comes from the small town of Comanche, Texas. He played the bars in Dallas-Ft. Worth and Colorado for many years before relocating to Nashville. He signed with Famous Music (later acquired by Sony ATV) in 1997 and quickly had his first number one song, Lee Ann Womack’s “A Little Past Little Rock.” He continued this run with George Strait’s “Run,” John Michael Montgomery”s “Letters From Home,” and the Grammy-nominated “I Need You” by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. He has had cuts by Trace Adkins, Billy Currington, Randy Travis, Sara Evans, Tracy Lawrence and many others. His recent hits include Easton Corbin’s “Roll with It”, Trace Adkin’s “This Ain’t No Love Song”, and Lady Antebellum’s “Hello World.”
Johnny Bulford is a name to be known in Nashville. Growing up in a home filled with music it was natural for Bulford to realize and hone his passions from an early age; attending a Garth Brooks concert at the age of 12, he looked at his mother and said “That is what I want to do with my life”. Performing throughout high school and college, Bulford won the national singing competition Colgate Country Showdown in 2008 and secured a publishing contract from Warner Chapell Music shortly thereafter. 2011 was a great year for the now 29 year old Orlando, FL native: he had his song “Flashlight”, co-written with RCA artist Chris Young, cut on Young’s 2011 album “Neon”, and secured his first #1 hit with Lee Brice’s “A Woman Like You”. Honored at the 42nd Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Dinner for “A Woman Like You”, Bulford stood on stage not far from his idol, Garth Brooks. Continuing to tour the Southeast with his own band, Bulford is captivating audiences with his showmanship, boy-next-door personality and beautifully written originals while his newest single, “Lonely Eyes” by Chris Young is quickly climbing the charts.