Above the earlier ten years, Whiskey Jam’s absolutely free weekly live shows at nearby location Winners Bar & Grill have develop into need to-see evenings. Whiskey Jam has also come to be a proving floor for aspiring musicians, with much more than 3,500 artists, bands and songwriters acquiring done to date. Now-domestic names like Luke Combs, Ashley McBryde, Maren Morris, Kacey Musgraves and Chris Stapleton all played the Whiskey Jam stage early in their professions. Far more than a concert collection, Whiskey Jam immediately grew to become a networking hub, with leading industry execs and musicians in attendance.
“Whiskey Jam is the biggest ceremony of passage in modern-day Nashville,” states singer-songwriter HARDY. “Every one songwriter and artist in this city that is on the radio ideal now has absent by way of Whiskey Jam. Ward has constructed this sort of an incredible program and I hope that Whiskey Jam carries on to be a area wherever new artists get their start out and people go to network.”
Dozens of subsequent State Airplay No. 1 hits have either been published or carried out by Whiskey Jam friends, this sort of as Tyler Farr’s “A Man Walks Into a Bar.” Farr recorded the music immediately after listening to songwriter Jonathan Singleton conduct it at Whiskey Jam. The track became Farr’s first Country Airplay chart-topper in 2015.
Guenther recalls Stapleton executing for the very first time at Whiskey Jam in 2012, a few a long time prior to Stapleton’s star-building switch at the 2015 CMA Awards, when he earned three trophies and collaborated with Justin Timberlake. “It was the initial time in Whiskey Jam history that I try to remember the home getting completely silent. It’s such a rowdy atmosphere, but when Chris begun singing, the home went quiet. To this day, I’m not certain which is transpired once again.”
Combs’ 1st efficiency arrived in 2014. “He created this extraordinary adhering to. Followers realized all the phrases to tunes that weren’t even out. I stumbled on some previous pictures the other working day from the very first handful of situations they performed… it is the exact same band associates he has now on tour, promoting out arenas. In his case, it was just waiting around for the planet to learn him.”
Even now, Guenther maintains, “It’s not about observing somebody well-known, it’s about knowing you’re heading to be assured wonderful songs.”
Guenther, who moved to Nashville in 2003, introduced Whiskey Jam soon after enduring his personal frustrations as a musician. “I experienced been accomplishing it for a extended time, irrespective of whether it was deal with gigs, on the highway, writers’ evenings, and the scene stayed the identical for so very long,” Guenther says. “I would uncover myself at writers’ evenings, bored of my very own songs. I was participating in address gigs and I wasn’t owning exciting.”
Just one evening in January 2011, Guenther joined fellow musician Frankie Ballard for an unpromoted “bar tab gig,” just to participate in songs for pleasurable. The following day, Guenther shared an off-the-cuff article about the evening on Twitter, calling it “Whiskey Jam.” Fellow musician Josh Hoge cherished the title and turned Guenther’s early companion in the undertaking.
“We needed to build an celebration in which good friends could get jointly,” Guenther states, adding, “There’s no pretense, no shushing. There ended up no lineups, not even definitely a headliner. It was just purely a team of good friends obtaining jointly to do the issue we moved to Nashville for: play songs. In the earliest times, we have been text messaging hundreds of our mates about Whiskey Jam, and you experienced folks display up, all artists and musicians, who could talk the similar language.”
What began as a weekly Monday night time jam session for artists with a evening off, expanded to involve Thursdays and a Tuesday evening “New In Town” present, for performers who have been in Nashville for a calendar year or considerably less.
The loose, organic and natural vibe of Whiskey Jam drew much more than newcomers: A numerous vary of artists, including Melissa Etheridge, The Fray, Girl A, OneRepublic, Brad Paisley, Chris Youthful, and much more have attended.
“They experienced been touring all weekend and they needed a location to hold out with pals. You have artists like Sam Hunt and Miranda Lambert coming in and sitting down down at a desk. I have experienced Randy Travis arrive in and sit with my parents,” Guenther states. “The surroundings is at ease sufficient exactly where they can come in and persons are very respectful. It grew to become this sensation of, ‘This is Nashville’s most effective-held mystery that all people is familiar with about.’”
Sooner or later, Hoge left to emphasis on his possess music occupation, and Guenther teamed with ROAR government Ryan O’Nan to spearhead Whiskey Jam’s development, adding business enterprise ventures in goods, scheduling and artist/author providers.
“Merchandise turned a substantial emphasis when we realized we have been advertising hundreds of dollars of items at a nearby writers’ evening, a number of situations a 7 days,” Guenther says. ”I’ve bought on the street just before — those are large numbers for an artist.”
The company’s Roadshow Enjoyment will help Whiskey Jam artists book regular, paying out reveals in and beyond Nashville. Roadshow has also booked Whiskey Jam occasions in Chicago, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Memphis, and at Essential West Songwriters Pageant, with designs to grow to more marketplaces.
As the organization has been approached by associates in artist improvement, publishing and label providers, O’Nan claims they are employing one more undertaking, King Music, as portion of “building out an arm of our business enterprise that assists produce more prospects for the standout artists that appear by Whiskey Jam on a weekly foundation.”
More than the earlier 10 years, Guenther has resisted tips to shift Whiskey Jam to a unique venue or charge a go over. “The spark here has been everything for us — it is what manufactured artists like Woman A come back again, in our ninth year, and play a no cost present to a few of hundred people today. We want a snug, reduced-stress ecosystem for artists. If you check out to blow it up bigger than it ought to be, you would get rid of that guidance, that magic.”
A critical element of Whiskey Jam’s good results has been the team’s means to aim on the needs of the Nashville local community. On March 15, 2020, Guenther recollects Whiskey Jam “shut down very substantially overnight” thanks to the pandemic. O’Nan instructed a livestreamed function through Instagram, which turned Dangerous Jam. As with in-man or woman occasions, the Whiskey Jam group welcomed established performers this sort of as Cole Swindell, Travis Denning and Craig Campbell, along with newcomers — and the audience held rising.
“We knew one thing was significant when Facebook couldn’t take care of the sum of site visitors that was likely on in their servers. You assume about the aged times in which people today collected around their radios and felt like they’re component of the Grand Ole Opry — it felt almost like a new radio [outlet],” Guenther claims.
Offered how Nashville’s new music group has aided create Whiskey Jam, Guenther claims all proceeds from tonight’s Ryman Auditorium live performance will go toward setting up the Jam Fam Basis, which will fund new music-oriented charities and organizations. Tickets are $27, $37 and $47.
Guenther hints the show’s lineup will align with Whiskey Jam’s ethos, that includes a combine of newcomers and set up artists. “The lineup ranges from folks who had been there on the very to start with evening, to some that have never ever performed before. That’s vital to me, that this not just be a ‘greatest hits’ display. It is much more about, ‘Here’s the start off of the up coming 10 several years.’”