Author Archives: Special to TVD

Candi Carpenter,
The TVD First Date

“I don’t remember how old I was when I watched the needle drop on my first vinyl record, but I do remember the song. It was ‘Blowing Bubble Gum,’ by Spike Jones and His City Slickers. It’s not a traditionally ‘cool’ song, but nobody’s ever accused me of being traditionally cool anyway. My family had a collection of worn out gospel records, and I remember laughing with my cousins about the awkward vintage photos on some of the covers. (For reference, google: ‘Captain Hook and His Pirate Crew, gospel album.’)”

“I signed with my first Nashville producer when I was just a little kid. My Mom and I would load up her bright pink Geo Tracker, and we’d take off down the highway from Michigan to Tennessee, blaring my LeAnn Rimes cassette tape with the windows rolled down. In my early teens, I played the honky tonks on Lower Broadway and ran my fingertips over the album covers lining the walls in Legends Corner. I combed through the display racks at The Ernest Tubb Record Shop, dreaming of recording my own project someday.

By the time I was 16, I was touring with country music legends and memorizing their songs. Jack Greene took me on the road as his duet partner, and I had the opportunity to learn from Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, Bill Anderson, Little Jimmy Dickens, and so many of my classic country heroes. Several years ago, I started collecting their records. Phonoluxe, McKay’s, Grimey’s, and The Great Escape are some of my favorite places to go treasure hunting in Nashville. It’s a weird feeling to walk into a vintage record store and see the names and the faces of the people I grew up around.

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Emmy Wildwood,
The TVD First Date

“I was born in Tucson, AZ where records melt. In the summer the heat would rise to 117 degrees sometimes, so both people and vinyl had to be stored in a cool, dry place.”

“My father was a musician turned businessman and avid record collector. He made a media center with our record player in the cool and dim living room of the house I was born in. I’m not sure if I’ve been told the story a million times or if I have retained the actually memory of my mother rocking me before bed in an old wood rocking chair while she played Joni Mitchell’s Blue.

When I close my eyes I can see the electric melon color of the dial in radio lit up in the dark and I can remember the needle on vinyl’s subtle fuzz as an indicator that I going to be wrapped up safely in loving arms and carried peacefully into sleep. Even though I wasn’t a crier (then), she rocked me every night to their collection of Joni Mitchell, Emmy Lou Harris, Crystal Gayle, Juice Newton, The Beach Boys, and The Beatles to ensure we bonded. From time to time, a song comes up on the radio that I feel like I’ve never heard before and somehow I know all the words. Most likely, those are songs my parents put on the turntable before bed.

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Elise LeGrow,
The TVD First Date

“My vinyl collection is dearer to me now more than ever.”

In the mp3/streaming age there’s something incredibly special about holding an album in your hands. And you end up handling your favourites a lot. They get worn from use, evidence of your love or perhaps that of the previous owner.

My Martha Reeves and the Vandellas 4-side anthology is one of my favourite LPs, and it’s got the bruises to prove it. I bought it used at a record store in Toronto and it was in mint condition then. The once bright purple edges of the cover are now well-worn, exposing the brown fibre beneath, and one is even chewed a bit by an old roommate’s cat (my cat would never!) But when you love a record, it’s always out and so always at risk of injury by man and beast alike!

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Wild Child,
The TVD First Date

“I’m going to talk about CDs first and then, I swear, I’ll eventually talk about vinyl.”

“I remember thinking vinyl was lame when I was a kid. Sort of dinosaur artifacts. It was all about CDs for me back then—I was born in ’88. My mother bought a new Jeep Cherokee when I was 7 or so, and as a bonus gift they gave her this gigantic bright yellow boombox that had a massive Jeep logo on it and it took something like 8 D batteries to operate it. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world and it sort of just became mine because I had such an obvious affinity for it.

My first CD was Bringing Down The Horse by The Wallflowers which I found in the middle of the street in my neighborhood while riding my bike one day. I used to blast the single “One Headlight” in my front yard for the entire neighborhood to hear. Over the years I started collecting CDs like trophies. Everyone I knew had a giant CD booklet, one of those that holds 8 CDs front and back in little sleeves, and when you went over to someone’s house or got in their car, the first thing you’d do is flip through their collection and figure out who they were.

Your CD collection was sort of your identity. You know, what made you you. I broke up with my first girlfriend because she had too many boy band CDs, and I fell in love for the first time when someone made me my first burned CD—15 songs curated just for me, wrapped up in a little paper love note. That’s what we did, that’s what I remember. I didn’t get into vinyl records until midway through high school and even then, it’s taken me almost my entire adult life to truly appreciate them.

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Hoodlem,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up listening to music my parents were into. We had a record player and a pretty vast vinyl collection in my family home.”

“I remember the first vinyl I’d hunt for was Stevie Wonder’s Hotter Than July, namely for the song “Lately.” I was taught to “respect the record” from a young age. I used to love the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Maria Muldaur, Carly Simon, Fleetwood Mac, and so many of the classics. I was exposed to so many genres and enjoyed so many different artists.

My parents owned an electronics store in the ’90s in rural Australia and over time introduced CDs to the store. I remember sorting the covers into alphabetical order and pulling out the CD artwork, reading lyrics, and looking at pictures. The first CD I bought with my pocket-money was Pablo Honey—given to me by a high school guy who worked for my parents. Safe to say, my mind was blown. This was before the internet really took over so I had to discover music through listening to CDs.

I remember I was allowed to borrow 5 CDs per week and would keep Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Brandi, and then Destiny’s Child, Britney Spears, Lauryn Hill, etc on heavy rotation. I think my parents ended up banning Fantasy by Mariah and Shania Twain’s Come on Over record due to heavy repeated plays. Obviously my love for R&B and pop was spawned early…

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Matt Hectorne,
The TVD First Date

“My first experience with vinyl was limited. When I was growing up, my parents didn’t play a lot of their records; they had moved on to 8 tracks by then. They had (and still have) an old record player/ 8 track player/ radio tuner combo with a huge speaker attached simply called “Trendsetter.” It’s a pretty dope piece of machinery.”

“It hasn’t been used in a good decade or two, but when I was a kid we had a couple of records we would play on it. The one I remember most though is the Chipmunks Christmas album. We’d play it every year around and on Christmas, and I’m sure it drove my parents crazy. I loved all the songs on it and loved the ritual of putting on something and having an interactive experience with it. Unfortunately my parents, who had no idea vinyl would ever make a comeback, stored all of their old vinyl in the attic. That might not seem too bad, but in Mississippi attics aren’t as well insulated as they may be in other parts of the country. So, I’m sure after 20+ years of hot, southern summers that those things are toast.

So I didn’t have a relationship with vinyl again until I was in my late teens/early 20s when I started collecting my own. My first record I bought was an Anathallo/Javelins split from the early/mid 00s. It was a translucent blue with clear packaging that had red balloons on it. I loved it, but didn’t know how to take care of vinyl and ruined it by accidentally leaving it in my car. I know, I know.

After that I started buying older records. I think the first one was definitely Rumours. I got it for $.99 at a bookstore in Louisville while on tour over a decade ago. I was shocked that it was only a dollar, not realizing that there were literally millions made back in the day. As I started to grow my collection of vintage finds, I found more and more bands releasing on vinyl. So I started collecting new records for the first time in earnest.

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Caleb Caudle,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl, what a beautiful thing. Some of my favorite memories are attached to pulling a record out of the sleeve, putting it on the turntable, and dropping the needle. There’s a lot of ways to take in music these days, but there’s only one way to make you feel like you are in a different world.”

“The first time I remember buying a record was at a flea market when I was in 10th grade. I was mostly just there for the boiled peanuts, but I found myself combing through the bins at a stand that was about the size of your average walk-in closet. I came across a copy of Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd. I bought it and left 10 dollars lighter.

I didn’t have a turntable at the time, so I rented one from my high school library. The librarian dusted it off and told me no one had rented one of these in a decade. I proudly took it home and dove right in. Spinning records became the most important thing to me right away.

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Raye Zaragoza,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up with CDs. I grew up with big pink headphones in the late ’90s, early 2000s in a New York City that was still very welcoming and accessible to artists.”

“My headphones were always on. The Beatles, Elliott Smith, Led Zeppelin, Queen… was the soundtrack to my adolescence. I remember getting a Walkman for Christmas when I was 8 or 9. I listened to Jewel and Avril Lavigne mostly in those days. In middle school, my best friend Kalina and I used to swap CDs. I would lay down in bed and listen to Led Zeppelin songs that I had never heard before. I remember the first day we listened to “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. With our headphones on, dancing down the hallways of our middle school. Music made us feel unstoppable. It made us feel heard. Made us feel unique. We wore band T-shirts almost everyday to school, and wore ties and jeans under our dresses like Avril Lavigne. Music was everything.

When I was 11 years old, I fell in love flat on my face for the kid who played guitar in our class. He was cool, was also always listening to music, and would play guitar solos on the playground during lunch. He was everything that I wanted in my life at the time, and I made it known. I even started playing guitar to get his attention.

He used to make me mix CDs. Songs that took me to a whole new place. He had headphones that must have cost over $100 and they were ‘noise canceling.’ I had never heard of this before, and I was very excited. We used to take the bus an hour from the city to his parents house upstate. He would put the expensive ‘noise canceling’ headphones on my ears and play Elliott Smith songs during the bus ride. We only had one set of headphones, so he would just watch for my reactions during every song. I would look out the window, and see the city leave us as Elliott Smith sang “the city’s been bled white.”

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Steve Barton,
The TVD First Date

“It is nearly impossible for me to pinpoint just one particular vinyl album that got the ball rolling for me.”

“My parents, although artists in their own rights (both were actors), were not deeply into music. That said, I do remember original cast recordings for Broadway musicals being played quite a lot at home on the turntable. Oliver, Flower Drum Song, Sound Of Music, and more. I loved those! Even as a child I can vividly recall loving the sound of the production on those albums. Of course, I had no idea what “production” meant in terms of records, but there was something about the 3-D aspect of the listening experience with those soundtrack albums that really got to me.

I also have a deep recollection of holding the Frank Sinatra Songs For Swinging Lovers album cover in my little hands while standing in the den, the room where the hi-fi system was kept. I totally dug the size and vibe of the cover. There were several 78 rpm records around as well, remnants from my parents’ younger days. The weird tinny, scratchy sound from those discs was really cool to my childhood ears.

However, I will try to nail it down to one album. The Beatles were a new band, at least, a new band to kids in America. Hell, before they came to New York for the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964, they had already played the Royal Command Performance in London. They were absolutely huge in the UK and Europe.

One day, I was standing in the dining room in the front of the house I grew up in. My dad came through the front door (I swear that I can still see this scene in my mind). He had a surprise for his 9-year old son. I held out my hands and he gave me a brand new copy of the Vee-Jay Records release called Introducing The Beatles. The red/brown/sepia toned cover, a full-bleed photo of the band wearing fab brown suits with black collars and black around the sleeves, was stunning to me.

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ash.ØK,
The TVD First Date

“When my parents came from India in the late 1970s to attempt making a life for themselves in the United States, they arrived with only a few essentials and not much more. My dad often recalls having $7 in his pocket as he first got off the plane, hitchhiking his way to a small Catholic parish outside of NYC where his brother was the resident pastor. By the early ’80s, my parents eventually moved to West Philly, living in a tiny one-bedroom apartment to begin their new life. While my mom worked as a nurse, my dad worked nights in a factory and spent his days putting himself through printing school.”

“I was only a few years old at the time and I don’t remember much about that apartment, but I do remember two items very clearly. One was an old nylon six-string guitar that my dad bought from one of our neighbors. There’s no name or label attached to it, but this first guitar has stood the test of time, still playable and very much alive after decades of rough abuse by me and my siblings.

The other thing I clearly remember was my dad’s first sound system. It was a solid silver Quasar unit that multitasked as a single cassette deck, radio, and a phonograph. The cabinet was beautiful and heavy and I can remember trying to lift that glass lid just to see the turntable spin, the mechanics of that arm catching my attention anytime it went about its single job. The front of the system was loaded with large silver dials and a two band equalizer that beamed red lights in sync to the audio.

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