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The Importance of a Good Welcome

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been deprived of doing the things we love most - seeing friends and family, travelling, eating in restaurants, drinking in bars, and going to gigs. The Jim Beam Welcome Sessions celebrate some of the world's most revered musical artists, by returning to the iconic independent venues that first welcomed them. 


While the world around us may change, our welcoming spirit remains. This series explores the importance of connecting through music and hospitality, calling on musicians to recall the times and places at which they have felt the most at home, before returning them to their chosen stages for exclusive, one-off performances. Fortunately for us, they’ve been artfully captured on video - put your headphones in!


Up first is singer, songwriter, composer and Brit award winner, Jack Garratt. Originally from Buckinghamshire, Jack launched his career somewhat unusually, at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. These days, when he’s not hanging out with Hollywood A-Listers in L.A, he feels most at home with his dog, who he says smells of tacos. Jack’s unique genre-bending, erratic style makes him a perfect addition to the Jim Beam Welcome Sessions line up, and one we’re excited to watch. 


What does it mean to Jack, to feel truly welcome? “It’s about creating a transparent, open, two-way street of joy, and the best way to do that is to give yourself wholeheartedly to the experience. When venues go out of their way to create that environment, it always makes the show better. It creates a reciprocal energy of acceptance.” Jack continues “It’s in a venue’s nature to be welcoming to everyone inside it, from performer to audience to security. I’m not religious, but it’s the closest thing to a congregation I’ve been a part of. Everyone in one room, sharing a single experience.”


In his early years, Jack attended countless shows at the Village Underground, an old Victorian warehouse turned creative collective, home to London’s largest dedicated street art wall, where he was continually inspired both as a fan, and as an artist. When the moment came to play the venue himself, it was a surreal yet familiar experience, as the venue had become his home away from home - a place he knew he was always welcome. Fondly, Jack recalls a night early in his career, performing to his first ever sold-out-crowd of 700 fans. 


Six years later, Jack’s back at the Village Underground to perform a stunning rendition of his song, “Time.” Commenting on the performance, Jack said “I was home. For that brief moment in time, nothing else existed beyond the venue's four walls, and I was in the one place in which I felt I truly belonged." On his latest album, Jack describes Love, Death and Dancing as a “reclamation” – of music as something personal, of his freedom to choose his own path in the industry.


To mark Jack’s return to Village Underground, Head Bartender Radek Kieczka has created his own twist on a classic Jim Beam Highball. Introducing “The Underground Whiskey Ginger” – smooth, refreshing and quick to make, so you can spend more time on the dance floor. Check the fridge, pop to the shops, and make one at home. 


Whilst some of us might not yet be able to join our favourite musicians in our favourite independent live music venues, the Jim Beam Welcome Sessions invite you to remember the importance of feeling welcome and connected to each other through the power of a truly great gig. So, take a break, turn your speakers up and flash forward to being together again in person, soon. 


Check out Jack’s full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7v5ovdp0PQ