While music sales in general have been declining for the past several years, one trend that has been on the rise over the last few years has been the unofficial comeback of vinyl records. While the technology may seem antiquated to many, audiophiles point to vinyl as having a richer and fuller sound, particularly when compared to digital downloads.
It seems that a key reason in the spread of vinyl love is national Record Store Day (RSD). This “holiday” celebrates independent record stores. Many artists and labels feature many exclusive releases on this day, only available and participating independent shops. Most of the releases celebrate the beauty and “coolness” of vinyl. Record Store Day 2015 will be April 18. You can head on over to www.recordstoreday.com for all the details, and to find a participating store near you.
The list of RSD exclusives this year is impressive. Popular artists such as The Bee Gees, Fall Out Boy, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Twenty One Pilots, Frank Sinatra, U2, and more will all have releases coming out. Some lesser known bands will be issuing music as well, including some of the most creative band names I’ve ever seen; Gameface, The Dixie Cups, Garbage, Grizzly Bear, Johnny Thunders, and (my favorite) Diarrhea Planet will all be releasing music in coordination with RSD. (Bluegrass needs to step up their name game.) RSD often has some bluegrass-friendly releases as well, and this year is no exception.
Vanguard Records will be reissuing Doc & Merle Watson’s classic Ballads From Deep Gap album on vinyl. Personally, this is one of my favorite Doc albums, so I can’t wait to add a vinyl copy to my collection. Ballads From Deep Gap includes such standards as The Tragic Romance, My Rough and Rowdy Ways, and Alabama Bound.
Sugar Hill Records will be re-releasing Dolly Parton’s 1999 foray into bluegrass music, The Grass Is Blue. The album won Bluegrass Album of the Year at the 2001 Grammys, and is pointed to as another factor in the bluegrass resurgence of the early 2000’s alongside O’ Brother. Dolly’s sassy version of I’m Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open has been popular among bluegrass fans, as has her bluegrass interpretation of Johnny Cash’s I Still Miss Someone. Other highlights are Cash On The Barrelhead, Train, Train, and the title track, The Grass Is Blue.
Bluegrass fans should be familiar with Lee Ann Womack’s bluegrass cred, particularly following her stellar role as co-host of the 25th IBMA Awards Show, her interview with Bluegrass Today, and her frequent social media bluegrass mentions. Lee Ann will be releasing an exclusive three-song vinyl EP for RSD. Featuring only Lee Ann Womack with Richard Bennett on guitar, the EP will feature a version of the bluegrass gospel classic, I’ve Just Seen The Rock Of Ages, alongside Trouble In Mind and Roger Miller’s Where Have All The Average People Gone.
Other releases of note include a three song EP from former Steeldrivers frontman, Chris Stapleton; a live 1983 Johnny Cash concert from Prague; a 45rpm issue of Mumford & Sons’ latest sans banjo single; and two unreleased tracks from Asleep At The Wheel’s new Still The King tribute to Bob Wills, which features Willie Nelson and The Blind Boys From Alabama. A complete listing of RSD releases can be found at www.recordstoreday.com.
Be sure to visit your favorite independent record shop on April 18th!