Come join us at the Brenau University Front Lawn for the 15th Annual John Jarrard Foundation Concert, with Grammy Award winning artist Gary Baker and special guest Corey Crowder! Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.
Rain or Shine
5:00 pm- Gates Open
6:00 pm- Opening artist
7:15 pm- Main Show
Gary Baker refuses to rest on his laurels. Even though he’s earned a Grammy Award and created two of the music industry’s best-selling crossover hits, the multi-talented singer, songwriter and producer from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, prefers focusing on future projects and fresh musical horizons.
“I have one goal – to keep it all going and keep writing from the heart,” says Baker, who garnered a gold Grammy statuette for 1994’s multi-million-selling smash “I Swear,” a tender testament of true love co-written with Frank J. Myers. First recorded by Nashville troubadour John Michael Montgomery, “I Swear” captured the No. 1 spot on the country charts for four consecutive weeks. The heartfelt love song was quickly covered by the hip harmony group All-4-One, who carried their own classic rendition of “I Swear” to the pinnacle of the pop charts for 11 additional weeks. “That song tapped into something universal – a person expressing undying devotion to the person they love,” Baker believes. “Generations from now, that song will still be around – I really believe that.”
Few songwriters experience a success of the “I Swear” magnitude even once in their career. Baker, however, recaptured that songwriting magic when he and Myers collaborated with Richie McDonald, lead singer of the country super group Lonestar, on a second musical masterpiece called “I’m Already There.” “I feel very lucky,” Baker observes. “I’ve been in the right place at the right time a whole bunch of times.” Released in 2001, Lonestar’s “I’m Already There” single remained No. 1 on the country charts for seven weeks before crossing as a Top 5 pop smash. The song – which deals with a husband and father who misses his wife and children while he’s forced to be away from home – proved to be an inspiring and comforting favorite among servicemen and their families. “Those lyrics really struck a chord with an awful lot of people,” Baker maintains. “To me, it means more to me than any song I’ve ever written – that’s because I wrote it for my wife and kids.”
A native of Niagara Falls, New York, Baker launched his recording career with Muscle Shoals’ famed LeBlanc and Carr band, performing on their Top 10 hit “Falling.” He wrote and recorded with artists ranging from Mac Davis to Marie Osmond before becoming a member of Muscle Shoals’ hit country act, The Shooters. Alabama’s chart-topping “Once Upon a Lifetime” marked his first No. 1 hit as a songwriter.
Since the success of “I Swear,” Baker has been honored by the Country Radio Music Awards, the Country Music Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, American Songwriter Magazine, the American Music Awards, NSAI, ASCAP and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. His versatility in pop and country has enabled him to work with pop superstars Nick Lachey, Jessica Simpson and the Backstreet Boys (who scored a No. 1 hit with Baker’s” Anywhere for You”) as well as country favorites like Lonestar, Reba McEntire and LeAnn Rimes.
“Gary’s the man,” says 98 Degrees singer and “The Sing Off” television star Lachey, whose recent solo album was co-produced by Baker. “I love coming to Muscle Shoals to write and work with Gary and soak up some of the wisdom and experience that he brings to the industry.”
Baker and his wife, Amanda, live with their two sons, Brett and Cole, on the majestic bluffs overlooking the scenic Tennessee River in the Muscle Shoals region of northwest Alabama. For close to 50 years, the area has been a fabled musical mecca for artists ranging from Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett to Paul Simon and the Rolling Stones.
“Muscle Shoals is a perfect fit for me, because we’re not known for
doing only one kind of music – there’s no stamp on what we do here,” Baker believes. “I can live here and raise my kids in this beautiful area, do what I do best and still work with some of the top names in the business. I’ve been truly blessed.”
Songwriter/Producer Corey Crowder grew up in Loganville, Georgia, and began his musical career as a touring artist. Focusing his early music on TV and film placements, he secured placements on shows like One Tree Hill, The Biggest Loser, and a variety of MTV reality shows. He moved to Nashville in 2010 after signing an artist development and publishing deal. Following years of touring, Corey decided to focus solely on songwriting and production. Since then, he’s had songs recorded by artists such as Chris Young, Eric Paslay, A Thousand Horses, David Nail, Justin Moore, The Cadillac Three, Jon Pardi, James Otto, Jamie Lynn Spears, Kenny Rogers, and more. Corey currently has five singles out at radio with Chris Young’s “I’m Comin’ Over,” Eric Paslay’s “High Class,” A Thousand Horses’ “(This Aint No) Drunk Dial,” James Otto’s “Somewhere Tonight,” and Jess Moskaluke’s “Kiss Me Quiet.” Corey has also produced albums for Chris Young, Jamie Lynn Spears, James Otto, and Jess Moskaluke. Corey continues to have success with film/TV placements with shows like ABC’s Nashville, as well as writing the theme song for CMT’s new hit show Gainesville. Corey is currently a staff writer at Liz Rose Music Publishing in Nashville. link to website
Even’s songwriting career spans many years and stylistic borders from the multi-platinum international hit, “When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman” by rock’s Dr Hook, to the three week running #1 Pop hit, “I Love A Rainy Night” by long time partner and superstar, Eddie Rabbitt. He has accumulated an unprecedented 53 BMI Awards, which include: 14 Pop Awards – 26 Country Awards – 1 Five Millionaire Award – 1 Four Millionaire Award – 2 Three Millionaire Awards – 4 Two Millionaire Awards – and 6 One Millionaire Awards. The Grammy nominated composer has written ASCAP’s Most Played Song of the Year, “Love Will Turn You Around” by Kenny Rogers and won BMI’s Robert J Burton Award, Song of the Year for “Suspicions” by Eddie Rabbitt, earning him the distinction as a BMI “Songwriter of the Century”. He received New York’s prestigious Big Apple Advertising Award for writing a series of national Miller Beer TV & Radio commercials, the CMA Triple Play Award (for having three #1 hits in one year) and has had #1 songs in numerous motion pictures and television productions.
Recently Even was inducted into the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.
Artists that have recorded Even Steven’s Songs Include: Joe Cocker, Tim McGraw, Eddie Rabbitt, Martina McBride, George Jones, Julio Iglesias, Kenny Chesney, Conway Twitty, Elvis Costello, J.D. Souther, Sammie Smith, B.J. Thomas, Brenda Lee, Engelbert Humperdinck, Blake Shelton, Marilyn McCoo, Tom Jones, Shel Silverstein, Mac Davis, Roger Miller, The Oak Ridge Boys, Steel Pulse, Mickey Gilley, Lacy J. Dalton, Ricky Skaggs, Crystal Gayle, Trace Adkins, Glen Campbell, Alabama, Kim Carnes, Paul Davis, Kenny Rogers, Dr. Hook, The London Symphony, and even The Chipmunks!
Stephony is a current NSAI Board member and a former songwriter-representative on the CMA Board of Directors. She is active on the legislative front and frequently performs for NSAI. She began her professional songwriting career in Memphis writing commercial jingles for a major advertising agency. Her songwriting credits include Heidi Newfield’s “Johnny And June,” the Tim McGraw-Faith Hill duet “It’s Your Love,” Trisha Yearwood’s “Perfect Love,” Reba McEntire’s “How Was I To Know,” Chad Brock’s “Yes,” Tim McGraw’s “Back When,” Kenny Chesney’s “Big Star,” Ricochet’s “What Do I Know” and Lorrie Morgan’s “Go Away.” BMI’s 1998 Songwriter of the Year, Stephony has more than 100 cuts by artists such as Shania Twain, SHeDAISY, Barbara Streisand, the Dixie Chicks, Lonestar, and Diamond Rio.
Waterloo, Iowa native, Emily West, moved to Nashville at the age of 18, where she honed her songwriting and performance skills in the local clubs. Soon after arriving, West landed a publishing and record label deal, releasing three country singles. She was nominated with duet partner Keith Urban for the Academy of Country Music Awards in the category of “Vocal Event of the Year” for their song “Blue Sky.” Driven by her love and fear of New York City, West got on a plane, got lost on the subway, and found herself auditioning for America’s Got Talent. As a finalist on Season 9 (2014), West won crowds over, including AGT judge Howard Stern, with re-imagined versions of songs like the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” and Sia’s hit “Chandelier.” Her mentor and idol, Cyndi Lauper, whom she met during an episode of NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice, appeared with her on the AGT finale.
Following AGT, West signed with Sony Music Masterworks’ Portrait imprint. Her debut album “All For You,” features three original songs co-written by West including “Bitter,” which has charted in the Top 30 on AC radio, with its music video premiering on Yahoo Music. RollingStone.com raved that “’Bitter’…swells and soars thanks to West’s impassioned vocals. Heartbreak has never sounded quite this uplifting.” All For You also includes a stunning duet with Lauper of “True Colors” and unique covers of “Without You” (David Guetta & Usher), “You Got It” (Roy Orbison) and the songs that made her popular on AGT. West started 2015 with a bang, releasing a video collaboration with YouTube series Postmodern Jukebox where she performed a Roy Orbison inspired version of Kanye West and Paul McCartney’s “Only One.” Shortly thereafter, she was invited to open for comic legend Jay Leno on his national tour and continues to do so today. In April, West launched her one woman-show with a multi-city residency tour in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Chicago. She won over audiences with her soul-bearing vocals, captivating personality and guest appearances from the likes of music icon David Foster, pop artist Who is Fancy and legendary songwriter and producer, Mark Hudson. West was recently featured as one of the “Women of Gravitas” for the fashion brand, Project Gravitas, who premiered their “Emily Skirt” inspired by the artist. A portion of the proceeds from the skirt benefitted the Education through Music Foundation.
West has shared the stage with Lauper at her annual Home For The Holidays benefit concert in New York, co-hosted the red carpet at the first American Country Countdown Awards in Nashville and the featured vocalist at an HRC Gala in Las Vegas honoring Rob Reiner. She has performed the National Anthem across the country at major sporting events for the NHL, MLB, NBA, WNBA and the Kentucky Derby. This fall, West hits the road on tour. In addition to solo dates in September, she will be a featured performer in America’s Got Talent: The All-Stars Live Tour, visiting 42 cities across the country.
This fall, West hits the road on tour. In addition to solo dates in September, she will be a featured performer in America’s Got Talent: The All-Stars Live Tour, visiting 42 cities across the country.