by Sue Ann Rybak
Music lovers flocked to Hideaway Music, 8612 Germantown Ave., to – in the words of Bob Seger – “take those old records (and new records) off the shelf” to celebrate Record Store Day on Saturday, April 21.
Chris Brown, of Bull Moose, a chain of record stores in Maine and New Hampshire, dreamed up the idea for Record Store Day in 2007 as a “celebration of the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the U.S.A. and hundreds more around the world.”
Metallica officially kicked off Record Store Day at Rasputin Music in San Francisco on April 19, 2008, and Record Store Day is now celebrated on the third Saturday of April.
Hideaway Music owner Brian Reisman said more than 250 artists were releasing a limited amount of songs on vinyl to promote Record Store Day.
Some of this year’s participating artists included The Black Keys, David Bowie, Blood for Blood, Mastodon, Feist, The Civil Wars, Paul McCartney, James Brown, Foster The People, The Clash, Amanda Palmer, The Flaming Lips, the Pretty in Pink soundtrack (pink vinyl), Wilco, Phish, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Ryan Adams, The Grateful Dead, Ozzy, Buck Owens, Floggin Molly, PiL, Memphis May Fire, the MC5, Sigur Ros, T. Rex, Common, King Crimson, Kimbra, Richard Buckner, Captain Beefheart, Coldplay, The Cult, Dave Brubeck, J. Mascis, Jimmy Fallon, Genesis, Bruno Mars, Neon Trees, Shuggie Otis and Katy Perry to name a few.
As part of the celebration, Hideaway Records hosted two live performances.
Joe Ryan and Darren Glynn from the band The Lux were there to help promote the event. The Lux is a Philly-based rock band that combines classic sounds of 60s pop and hardedge indy rock. The band played several songs from its CD “Usual Habit,” including “Old is New.” Ryan said without support from local independent record stores local musicians would not have an outlet.
Scott Sax, who has opened for The WHO and toured with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, also performed songs from his band Wanderlust’s album “The Prize.”
“I am here because I believe in real music and a real store with real people,” said Sax, who recently co-wrote a Grammy award-winning song for Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. “Independent record store owners understand what you’re looking for, what you’re living for – they [Amazon and eBay] don’t have that.
“The record store is my last vice,” Sax added. “I read somewhere that playing an instrument is never a waste of time, and I think that listening to music is never a waste of time either. I don’t regret ever listening to music, and I think it’s a special place.”
Scott Thettar, of Chestnut Hill, who came to see Scott Sax perform, agreed.
“It’s just great that we have one here,” Thettar said. “I read in the paper that there are only 800 independent record stores in the whole country, and we have like five in Philadelphia and one in Chestnut Hill, so I have to frequent it. It makes me feel like when I was a kid and I would go to Mad Records in Ardmore. I would spend the day there just going through stuff. It’s a throwback for me. Thank God it’s here.”
Thanks to promotions like Record Store Day, vinyl album sales grew 39 percent last year, with about 3.9 million albums being sold, according to Nielsen Soundscan. And it’s not just the older generation buying vinyl records. It’s a new generation of young hipsters.
Fourteen-year-old Jake Segelbaum was one of them.
“I just started collecting records,” Segelbaum said. “My Dad has been collecting for a long time.”
“It is neat to see young people buying records,” Beth Strawbridge said. “We come from the generation where you had your albums and you brought them everywhere with you. I think it’s really cool to see people going back to that a little bit.”
For many young people in this digital age, collecting vinyl records is like preserving a piece of history.
“It’s more like an art piece for me,” Emery Schoenberg, of Horsham, said. “I don’t plan on playing them.”
Let’s hope that independent record stores won’t become a lost treasure.
Joe Dougherty, who grew up listening to records at local record stores, brought his daughter Devon to see Sax perform and “experience” the joy of buying music versus downloading a song from iTunes.
“It was a big surprise that I took her here,” Dougherty said. “We had an opportunity to see Scott Sax at a house concert a few weeks back. We have been playing his CDs nonstop, and we don’t get tired of them. I wanted to take them to a place where they could experience something that I loved as a kid that they may not get an opportunity to do unless we keep the music alive.”