AboutJohn Jarrard and Bruce Burch

Intimate gathering of the 2022 Songwriters Show
John Jarrard and Bruce Burch

Growing up in Gainesville, GA, John Jarrard and Bruce Burch were always kindred spirits who enjoyed music, but it wasn’t until later in life that songwriting captivated them and forged a bond in pursuit of a dream. Throughout it all, John battled diabetes and the complications it wrought. Bruce also faced health complications later in life, battling leukemia. Together, they helped each other grow as artists before unleashing a string of Nashville songwriting hits both individually and with other artists. Their success also enabled them to support countless benevolent causes in their native northeast Georgia and the other places they called home. The Jarrard Burch Foundation continues that pursuit and honors their legacy and friendship.

Dated photo of John Jarrard playing an acoustic guitar

John Jarrard

For someone with so many gifts, John was not a born musician or songwriter. In fact, neither he nor friend Bruce Burch knew of each other’s dreams of becoming professional songwriters until after each graduated from the University of Georgia. But, once they started down that path, it was only a matter of time. John moved to Nashville in 1977, and, despite health concerns caused by diabetes, John stuck to his task. Even when he began to lose his sight – going completely blind by 1979 – John refused to yield his dreams. That determination paid off when country music superstar Don Williams recorded John’s song, “Nobody But You,” taking it to the top of the charts in 1983.

The breakthrough led to an incredible career for John, as country music stars such as Alabama, George Strait, Diamond Rio, and Tracy Lawrence, among others, recorded his songs. John eventually claimed 11 No. 1 hits.

Through it all, John’s diabetes never relented. He endured two kidney transplants and the amputation of both legs. No matter the setback, however, John rebounded with the attitude that God would strengthen him. John also raised more than $100,000 for research, awareness, and education programs of the American Diabetes Association. He was also a faculty member of NashCamp Songwriting Camp in Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee, where a scholarship fund endures in John’s name.

An inspiration to many people right up to his death in February 2001, The Georgia General Assembly even recognized John’s sizable contributions in a resolution (HR 418) at his passing.

John Jarrard raised more than $100,000 for research, awareness and education programs of the American Diabetes Association.



  • “Blue Clear Sky” – George Strait
  • “There’s No Way” – Alabama
  • “You’ve Got the Touch” – Alabama
  • “We Can’t Love Like This Anymore” – Alabama
  • “Nobody But You” – Recorded by Don Williams
  • “Mirror, Mirror” – Diamond Rio
  • “Is That A Tear” – Tracey Lawrence
  • “Money In The Bank” – John Anderson
  • “They’re Playing Our Song” – Neal McCoy
  • “Lonely Alone” – Recorded by the Forrester Sisters
  • “My Kind Of Girl” – Colin Raye
  • “I Still Do” – Recorded by Bill Medley
  • “If It Ain’t Dixie (It Won’t Do)” – Alabama
  • “Katy Brought My Guitar Back Today” – Alabama & Rhett Atkins
  • “Old Man” – Alabama
  • “Deep Down” – Pam Tillis
  • “I Sure Can Smell the Rain” – Blackhawk
  • “When It All Goes South” – Alabama
  • “One Last Good Hand” – Reba McEntire
  • “I Can’t Take Her Anywhere” – Darrell Holt

Bruce Burch

Bruce Burch grew up enjoying music, but football was his first love. And after playing for Gainesville (GA) High and its legendary coach Bobby Gruhn, Bruce headed to East Tennessee State University to continue that pursuit. But then three things happened: His football career suddenly halted; he ended a relationship with a serious girlfriend, and he heard Kris Kristofferson for the first time. The combination led him down a path that saw him become a mainstay in the Nashville music scene as a hit songwriter and music publisher.

Bruce loved Kristofferson’s honest, sometimes gritty, yet artistic style, and it drew him into country music. And once he graduated from the University of Georgia (where he transferred after ETSU), Bruce was inspired to pursue his own music career. And after years of working his way into the industry, earning praise and rising success along the way, he eventually hit No. 1 when Reba McEntire recorded his song “Rumor Has It” for her album of the same name. McEntire also hit with Bruce’s song “It’s Your Call.” 

Bruce wrote for and with many other prominent country artists including Faith Hill, George Jones and T. Graham Brown, who recorded Bruce’s personal favorite “Wine Into Water.” 

During his career, Bruce assisted many an aspirational songwriter – and that need to mentor even led him into education, where he taught and established music business curriculums at his alma mater in Athens, as well as at Brenau University and Kennesaw State. Following his own passing from a battle with leukemia, the Experiential Learning Fund at Terry College (UGA) was established in his memory.

His legacy also includes maintaining the legacy of his boyhood and lifelong friend, John Jarrard, as he helped establish the first “Bruce Burch & Friends Honor John Jarrard” concert in 2001 – which is now a mainstay of the Jarrard Burch Foundation calendar, as its Songwriters Show.



  • “Rumor Has It” – Reba McEntire
  • “It’s Your Call” – Reba McEntire
  • “Wine Into Water” – T. Graham Brown
  • “The Last Resort” – T. Graham Brown
  • “My Train of Thought” – Barbara Mandrell
  • “You Can’t Keep A Good Memory Down” – John Anderson
  • “I Know So” – Wayne Newton

Helping The Community Through The Love of Song

Learn more about the Jarrard Burch Foundation and see how you can live the song, love the music, and help lead the cause.


We are always looking for new volunteers to help us in many ways anything from setting up and breaking down tables to selling raffle tickets or t-shirts.

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