Thursday, April 1, 2010

TVD's Record Store Day 2010 Label Showcase | Ardent Records, Music, and Studios | Star & Micey

Growing up in Memphis, I remember fondly now defunct record stores like Cats Music and Tower Records. When I would go into these stores I would be completely overwhelmed with all the choices. It was like going into a book store and not knowing what to read. I learned about some great music through these stores, mostly on my own. I tried to hold true to a theory that former Red Hot Chili Pepper’s guitarist John Frusciante once said, "If the cover looks cool, pick it up. You never know."

That's how a friend of mine found out about a band called The Format. Great album artwork can sometimes go a long way.

I recently went to a record store in Springfield, MO called Stick It In Your Ear Records. I spent about 2 hours there and ended up spending a long time speaking to the owner whose name escapes me at the moment. I ended up purchasing a Buffalo Springfield album before I left. It was an album I might never have listened to if it weren’t for my experience that day in a Record Store.

Vinyl seems to have crept its way back into popularity these days. I just recently acquired a turntable and finally have been able to listen to my vinyl album collection, which consists of everything from The Best Of Sam & Dave, to Ray LaMontagne. Lucky for me, my father just happens to have the biggest collection of vinyl I've ever seen. It’s over 1500 records and some of it is completely out of print, so I basically have my very own Record Store to peruse. I’ve become obsessed with the way old vinyl sounds and I’m looking forward to the chance of recording to tape at Ardent Studios, like so many of my musical heroes have. We would love to put out some of our own music on vinyl, hopefully that will be one of the next dreams we get to see come true.

There is really no way to express what it feels like to have the opportunity to record at Ardent. The history, the people, the gear - its all pretty mind blowing. In a million years I never would have thought I would be recording music in a place of its stature. We’ve come a long way from the bedroom. Recently, Ardent started cutting vinyl again. They have the original cutting lathe from Stax Records that Larry Nix used on so many of those old legendary albums. It’s pretty cool that there is still that option to have music in that format. As a matter of fact, every thing about that place is cool - to be in the same building where great engineers such as John Hampton, Jeff Powell, Curry Weber, and Pete Mathews work, all who are Grammy award winning/nominated engineers/producers, is just mind-boggling. And let’s not forget the studio manager is Big Star's Jody Stephens.

Back to Record Stores; I really wish I grew up in a time where they were more prominent and important (circa 1960s through the 1970s). These days Memphis still has several record stores going strong and spreading the musical love. Stores like Shangri La and Goner Records are world renowned staples of Memphis music. They are places that you can go in and spend hours just dreaming and learning about music. It’s one of the best ways I can think of to spend an afternoon. So long live vinyl! And long live Record Stores!

—Geoff Smith
Star & Micey

Star & Micey - So Much Pain (Mp3)

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