Whiskey Jam’s Ward Guenther on 615 Insider with Lindsey Nance: WATCH

by Lindsey Nance

“Giving great artists an equal shot” is what pushes Ward Guenther to put on the shows at Loser’s and Winner’s in Midtown Nashville. It’s what got him to begin Whiskey Jam, and it is the thing that has helped these events gain the traction they have here in Music City.

This week, I sat down with Ward Guenther, the co-founder of Whiskey Jam, to talk about the wildly-popular Nashville music events and the cult-like following the shows have garnered.

The events began with the motto, “the best kept secret that everybody knows.” A meeting of like-minded music lovers, hoping to get their breaks in Music City. Now, a dozen years later, that small, intimate “secret” is the hardest thing to keep alive, explains Ward. “A dozen years into this, that’s the hardest thing; to keep alive the spirit of that first night, month, year of Whiskey Jam.”

The amount of growth in Nashville boosts Whiskey Jam’s attendance, but it also is Ward’s largest challenge: the special sauce of the events is the fact they represent “real Nashville,” as he puts it.

“There is nothing sadder than a fantastic singer or songwriter or artist not get a fair chance to be heard,” he says. And he’s right: The accesability of discovery to new artists is Whiskey Jam’s jam. And that’s not changing anytime soon.