Bruce Burch, Country Songwriter Who Penned Reba McEntire and Faith Hill Hits, Dies at 69

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SESAC)

Music City has lost another legend. Yesterday, Bruce Burch, a country songwriter who wrote for artists like Reba McEntire and Faith Hill, died in his home. He was 69 years old.

According to his daughter, Sarah Stenzel, Burch passed after suffering complications from leukemia. The songwriter had been battling the disease for over 30 years.

Some of the writer’s most famous works were Rumor Has It by Reba McEntire, which he co-penned with Vern Dant and Larry Shell. He also worked on the lyrics for It’s Your Call with Vern Dant and Larry Shell. Both songs made it to the top 5 on Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks.

Some of Burch’s latest projects were with Grammy Nominee T. Graham Brown. The 67-year-old singer paid tribute to Burch yesterday on Twitter.

“The world just lost one of the best,” he wrote. “Bruce Burch was one of the sweetest, most talented people I’ve ever known. He was a pillar of the Nashville songwriting community and one of my best friends.”

Brown went on to recognize Burch for helping create the singer’s best-selling hit, Wine Into Water, which they wrote together with Ted Hewitt.

Wine Into Water is the best song that I’ve ever been a part of as a songwriter,” he continued.

Country Songwriter Bruce Burch Headed an Annual Charity Concert Series

Bruce Burch, who was born and raised in Gainesville, GA, also made it a point to give back to his community every chance he got. One of the ways he did that was by heading an annual songwriters’ concert in his hometown with the John Jarrard Foundation

John Jarrard was a fellow songwriter who was a childhood friend of Burch. The foundation was set up in his memory after his death in 2001.

Ticket sales raised funds for local charities such as Good News Clinics and Georgia Mountain Food Bank. Most people knew the concerts as Bruce Burch and Friends.

The foundation’s executive director Jody Jackson told the Gainesville Times that the concert series has exploded in popularity over the past two decades. During the debut event, Burch only sold 20 tables. And by last year, that number had jumped to 120.

“It’s kind of become something that people just love to do in Gainesville,” she said.

“He leaves this mortal plane a much better place,” T. Graham Brown added. “[ His wife] Sheila and I ask everyone to keep his family in your prayers. We will miss him very much. Rest In Peace, brother.”