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.