What do you do when magazines are reporting on the impending doom of the goods you are sell, when corporate versions of your company are failing and going bankrupt all around you and when all hope seems lost? You plan a party.
More than 700 independent record stores did exactly that in 2008, marking the first of an annual Record Store Day. It’s come back every year on the third Saturday in April — April 20 this year.
“It is the best thing to ever happen to record stores.” said Doyle Davis, co-owner of Grimey’s New & Preloved Music and the store’s resident vinylist, a title he created just for himself.
The brick exterior of the 1920s building at 1604 8th Ave. S. echoes the record store’s classic attitude and vintage vinyl. A customer walks in the door to a sensory overload of music. Records are spinning, and ears are happy, and with one look at the expansive collection, eyes are overjoyed. Records from every genre fill the building, the racks making a maze of classics and new releases, many in vinyl, but CDs and even some audiotapes are part of the mix.
On Saturday, this musical safe haven — a participant every year since the Record Store Day debut — will be filled with collectors, fans and people in search of that one special release, often delivered in live performance as well as on vinyl.
Without that exclusivity, it’s fairly easy to make a case that there’s no need for record stores anymore, Davis said.
“I have to give you a reason to come, he said. If you don’t step in you never know.”
And Davis believes Grimey’s Record Store Day celebration will give you plenty of reasons to step in.
Exclusive releases, food trucks, dollar record bins, and enter-to-win drawings are part of the party, and of course, the whole day is a free concert. The doors will open at 10 a.m., although the line will form much earlier. Frothy Monkey will be serving breakfast. Live music will start at 11:30 a.m.
Along with seven DJ sets, eight different artists will perform. The Poplar Grove Middle School Ensemble will start the live performances, playing music from Beck’s album “Song Reader.” PUJOL, Hotpipes and The Features will round out the day.
The big draw, however, will be Paramore, the pop-rock band that unseated Justin Timberlake this week at the No. 1 spot in Nielsen’s SoundScan rankings.
The local appearance shows the Franklin band has the stature to make unexpected choices. This could expose a new and young fan base to a culture they haven’t seen before. After all, the last time Paramore played Nashville, they played Bridgestone Arena.
Most important, though, are the records. Record Store Day is an annual reminder that independent record stores banded together against big box stores, and exclusive releases are available only at the shops participating.
When asked to pick out some of his favorite exclusives, Davis had to look up the official list, and with each scroll there was something to talk about.
The Groove and Third Man Records, both in Nashville, will also host their own festivities. The Groove will hold many of the exclusive releases, while Third Man Records has some of its own special releases.
And then there’s Paramore. The band’s website notes the acoustic performance, and it announces, “Grimey’s will also be selling a Record Store Day exclusive die-cut 7-inch vinyl in the shape of a hibiscus flower with the three interludes from the new album.”
“We’re ready,” Davis said of the Saturday extravaganza. “It’s a celebration of a culture that has revitalized record stores.”
– Nathaniel Hoekstra