As we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic, we’re also beginning to see the return of the things that we loved from before it blindsided us – including live music. In aid of that, iconic bourbon brand Jim Beam have launched the Jim Beam: Welcome Sessions, intended to remind us what made it so special to be screaming our lungs out in packed, sweaty rooms in the first place, by taking equally iconic artists back to the stages where it all began for them. Kicking off the series today is beloved UK singer-songwriter Jack Garratt, who has shared an exclusive reimagined performance of his seminal track ‘Time’, filmed at East London’s Village Underground.
For Garratt, the venue represented the best and worst of times in his career, pre-dating his rise to fame as he embarked on his first tour of the UK. “I arrived in London,” he explains, “after a tour of bad luck and technical difficulties, and everything just worked. Not just technically, but also the experience that the venue provided. I immediately felt a connection to this audience of hundreds standing in front of me. An audience who were singing every word of every song back to me. 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. It changed me as a performer forever, convincing me that I did not need to worry so much anymore.”
He continues: “Any self-doubt about if I was on my way up or not, was put to bed. It was the start of something that changed my life forever. I’m not religious, but it’s the closest thing to a congregation I’ve been a part of. All of us in one room, sharing a single experience in which strangers become communities if only fleetingly, escaping together to experience a singular event that is absolutely unforgettable and utterly distinct.”
In that spirit, this reimagining of ‘Time’, which was created in partnership with music production team La Blogotheque, is intended to offer a glimpse into what that feels like for both audience and musician, as we find our homes again in the spaces that make us feel most connected to those around us and look for hope in something other than continuous lockdowns fighting a war of attrition against our bodies and souls. Garratt adds that when he was briefed on what Jim Beam were trying to do with the Welcome Sessions, it resonated with him immediately. “I knew instantly that I wanted to bring as many people with me on the journey as possible. I’ve wanted to be a musician since I was a kid. I don’t know how to do anything else, and like me, it’s not only the thing that keeps them alive, but it’s the reason that they want to have a livelihood. This concept and song are about celebrating independent music venues like Village Underground and the communities that breathe life into them.”
The Welcome Sessions series will continue with contributions from Fontaines DC, Jose Gonzalez and other to-be-announced acts over the course of 2021 and 2022. With Jim Beam at the steering wheel, the program will fight for its mission to, as put by Malini Patel, Managing Director James B. Beam Distilling Co, “create a unique shared experience that fans can relate to, over and over again. An experience that inspires, uplifts and instills a sense of community to being part of something special.” Watch this space for new entries as we celebrate returning to live music in 2021.
For more info, get the skinny after the jump.