John Jarrard Foundation
The John Jarrard Foundation, originally known as the Bruce Burch Honor John Jarrard Concert, was established as an annual event to raise money for charities local to North Georgia. Over the course of time, this event has grown to become one of the premier songwriting events in the state of Georgia and furthermore, the Foundation has grown from one concert to multiple events throughout the year. From First Verse, a songwriting education program for students in the state of Georgia, to songwriting concerts throughout the Southeast and financial support to the charities closest to John’s heart, the John Jarrard Foundation is built on music and love.
A Conversation With Greg
…HOW WOULD “YOU” DESCRIBE “YOUR” MUSIC?
I think its easy to listen to … and earthy. Anyone who knows the human experience knows everything I sing about. It comes from a common place...the heart and the soul.
Of course everything of mine has to have some kind of a groove to it. …
I AGREE - IT SEEMS LIKE IT’S A SOULFUL R&B SOUND TO ME… HAVE YOU BEEN DEEPLY INFLUENCED BY YOUR ROOTS AND WHERE YOU ARE FROM?
Yeah, I guess I get it honestly. New Orleans is deeply engrained in me. I grew up listening to guys like Ernie K-Doe, Professor Longhair, a lot of Mardi Gras songs. Music happens in New Orleans as naturally as the tide coming in and going out. It's just a part of the delta culture.
... RAISED IN NEW ORLEANS – THAT’S SUCH A PLACE OF OLD SOULS AND FASCINATING HISTORY – HOW DID YOU GROW UP – WAS MUSIC ALWAYS THE FOCUS?
I've been musically inclined ever since I was a baby. One of my fondest memories was when I was about 7 or 8 years old. The neighbor's teenage son had a band that was one of the top bands in the area. I used to sneak over and sing cover tunes with them. It blew them away when I knew all the words and could sing! I think that's when I really got the bug to perform. Yeah, I guess you could say music has always taken center stage in my life. I'm a lifer. What else am I gonna’ do?
…MUSIC BECOMES PERSONAL TO EVERYONE…WHAT DOES PLAYING AND SINGING MUSIC SPECIFICALLY MEAN TO YOU?
It's my form of self - expression. It's also a gift that God gave to me to make other people feel better and escape their troubles for a little while. All the money in the world can't buy the feeling I get when I'm singing. I go someplace else in myself when I'm performing. I'm still amazed at how music takes over… at the whole process, from inspiration to the finished product. It's all a miracle to me.
…SOME SAY THAT THE BLEND OF THE BLUES, ROCK AND ROLL WITH SOUL MUSIC IS A RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE - WOULD YOU SAY THAT IT CAN BE THAT FOR YOU -? AND HOW DOES IT FEELS WHEN YOU PERFORM – I’VE HEARD MUSICIANS SAY THAT AS SOON AS THEY BEGIN TO SING AND PLAY THEY GO TO ANOTHER PLACE…
When you look out and see everybody connecting with your music, it's definitely a God thing… the mixture that is. Speaking for myself, there's nothing else it could be other than spiritual. As Bob Marley once said… "One Love".
...THAT IS A GREAT ANALOGY - DO YOU FEEL INFLUENCED BY ANY PARTICULAR ARTIST OR GENRE MORE THAN OTHERS?
My influences range from New Orleans greats such as the Neville Brothers and Allen Toussaint, to bands like the Beatles, and later the Eagles. I had Al Green in one ear, and George Jones in the other. My folks are from Mississippi and Louisiana, so I grew up listening to a lot of country as well as Cajun and Zydeco music. Bottom line is it was all soul music to me. Great music is great music PERIOD.
...YOU ALSO WRITE AND PERFORM WITH OTHER ARTISTS - IS THIS A DIFFERENT MINDSET THAN PERFORMING YOUR OWN MUSIC YOU’VE WRITTEN SPECIFICALLY FOR YOURSELF? OR IS THERE A DIFFERENCE REALLY? WE ALL KNOW SONGS CAN BE SUNG FROM MANY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES DEPENDING ON A GENRE – OR WHO COULD BE LISTENING …
There is a difference. When I'm writing with or for another artist, I listen to them and their influences…In essence I try to channel what they're about.
It's kinda’ something that I've learned to do from being a songwriter so long. And I've listened to every kind of music so I think I have a pretty vast knowledge to draw from.
It's another side of me that just happened along the way.
...IS EVERYDAY ABOUT WRITING OR CREATING IN YOUR MIND?
Yes it is. It seems I can't get away from it even in my down time. I'm 24/7 I guess.
...WHAT HAPPENS ON A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR LIFE –
A typical day would be: Getting up and having coffee! … that seems to jump start the creative process. I believe that without even knowing it, the creative brain is brewing up its own formula and then it's up to me to get it out on paper or on tape. It seems to be a mostly involuntary thing, but I still welcome it. I pick up a guitar and start sketching out a melody and some chords and I let that lead me where it will. It depends on the mood I'm in that day whether the song will be down or up tempo. My belief is that you get the song out, then you can edit it and polish it into what it can be. People who stop on the "ands" and "buts" tend to stop the flow. I write quickly because that's how thoughts flow. If you don't write them down at the moment…they are gone. Usually I write no less than 3 songs a week.
...WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO PURSUE YOUR CRAFT AND TALENTS?
Seeing them come to fruition over and over again. Every time it happens it's still an inspiration. Oh and hunger is a good motivator as well!
...DO YOU EVER HAVE A “BAD“ DAY
WHERE CREATING FEELS IMPOSSIBLE?
Yeah, I sure have! But I try to push on past writer's block. I might not get the best song, but it seems like some days are diamonds and some are dogs. As long as you keep a good average up, you'll have a lot to choose from.
...WHAT DO YOU DO TO TAKE YOURSELF OUT OF THAT PLACE?
I watch a movie or get in the car and drive. Just change the scenery. Eventually though, I know another great song is comin' down the line.