It’s been said that music is the universal language, to which no one would argue. We all love music. It makes us happy, saddened too. It evokes memories of love and childhood, inspires and motivates, calms and relaxes. We all have an internal soundtrack — music that keeps us moving — always turning.
Although I’m not a musician (nor will I ever be) music has always been a huge part of my life. My dad had a big vinyl collection, full of old records he’d originally bought in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s — lots of old jazz, blues, some R&B and country. He played those records to death, too. I can still remember hearing him loudly cursing from the den when he’d discovered a scratch on one of his Earth, Wind, and Fire or Louis Armstrong records.
He played them all the time — all the time — while cooking. The smell of frying potatoes and onions will forever make me think of Count Basie or Miles Davis. I can’t drink red wine without thinking about Wes Montgomery, Nina Simone, or even Ricky Nelson.
When I was very small, I’d pull the records from their shelf, completely mesmerized by the album art and photographs. The cover to The Isaac Hayes Movement seemed particularly strange and beautiful to me; I’d stare at it for hours as my dad played the album.
I still love all of that old music, in fact. I can appreciate it more now, especially since I’ve inherited most of my father’s collection. My husband also inherited some cherished old records, and together we add to our collection all the time. It’s priceless to us.
There’s nothing better than browsing through an old record store. As soon as I walk through the doors and inhale that old, musty smell of precious music, I get excited. I love to flip through old crates and shelves, never knowing what I’m going to find. Very often I’ll notice familiar titles; sometimes I’m lucky to find that one rare album I’d been looking for.
Recently, I browsed through an amazing record store alongside a group of my favorite musicians. The experience was surreal — I was giddy with excitement — and I’ll never forget it.
April 16 is Record Store Day, when the wonder and culture of independently owned record shops is celebrated around the world. There will be live music at various stores along with special releases reserved just for this day by such artists as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Regina Spektor and many more.
Tom Waits once said [about record shops], “Folks who work here are professors…” And he’s right. Go find a record store, talk to the people who work there. Tell them what you like, and they will find you music you will love. Not only will you be doing yourself a favor by enjoying new (or just new to you) music, but you will also be supporting a locally owned business, the kind that has traditionally supported artists and musicians for decades.
The art of music, the art of enjoying music, goes beyond the MP3. There’s a synergy inside a record store that can’t be replicated by an online playlist. So, go find one, experience it. You won’t regret it.
For more information including a list of special releases reserved for Record Store Day, and to find an independently owned record store near you visit www.RecordStoreDay.com. See you there!