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Thursday, April 17, 2014 12:01 am

Don’t skip national record store day

National Record Store Day is on April 19.


It’s that time of year again when we celebrate on an international level a great holiday of profound importance to the world. Well, yes, there’s Passover and Easter, too, but I was referring to National Record Store Day, happening in 2014 on April 19. The other holidays, based on the spring equinox and the full moon following it, don’t always land around NRSD, designated to occur on the third Saturday in April by the powers that be.

Started in 2007 by a group of independent record store owners to raise awareness and help preserve the uniqueness and value of your local record store, the event now reaches to every continent on Earth, except Antarctica. And don’t you know, if there was a record store there, by golly, they’d be celebrating, too. With the coming of the digital age, spearheaded by the compact disc and iTunes, the decline of local record stores was unfortunately inevitable. From being a vital community hangout for decades, stores practically disappeared all over the world by the 2000s. I remember Co-op Records, and the Platter, plus the extremely influential Appletree Records as being key local stores in my life. Along with the later Atomic Records and other stores, those places shaped our lives not just by selling music records, but by offering a place to make friends, discuss music and share opinions, something not available when purchasing a download online.

Thankfully we still have Recycled Records, downtown on Adams Street, to carry new vinyl, along with thousands of previously played records, all while keeping the spirit of “the record store” alive. Even if you want to buy a CD, they’ll gladly talk music with you all day long and order whatever you want if it’s not in stock. They also carry a varied selection of turntables so you can break out from the attic those old LPs and relive the lovely sound of analog recordings. Rarely do I walk in the store without meeting another local music fan or musician and always there’s some discussion with RR folks about what’s going on in the music world. On Saturday, WQNA-FM, our community radio station, broadcasts live from the front window, Cafe Moxo provides baked delights and your hosts Mark and Gary Kessler supply fruit and coffee, along with several special releases for your purchasing pleasure.

Those of you familiar with the drill know that certain artists, mostly the really cool ones, release vinyl products only offered on NRSD at the 6,000 (and growing) stores worldwide. Springfield’s newest record store, Dumb Records, opened in January next to the Black Sheep Cafe on 11th Street near the corner of South Grand Avenue. In honor of their first record store day, the fledgling business offers 10 percent off existing stock and plenty of new record arrivals. They’re also hosting three separate live music shows at the Black Sheep Cafe with free daytime performances at 1 p.m. (three bands) and 3 p.m. (several acoustic acts), plus a 7 p.m. ($5 cover) show with five bands. Please stop by and welcome Dumb Records (open 10 to 10 on Saturday) to the legacy of Springfield record stores.

In other news, plan ahead for two outstanding performers coming to our area. The talented and heralded Danny Schmidt, a progressive singer-songwriter and fabulous fingerstyle guitarist plays the Paris-Belle house concerts on April 21 and 22. For more information, email paris-belleconcerts@outlook.com. Our dear friend, as well as a wonderful musician and singer-songwriter Rosie Flores drops into Dr. Ugs in Virginia, Ill. on Sunday, April 27. You can look it all up online.

Now it’s time to flip the record over and play the B-side.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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