Kathryn Dean,
The TVD First Date

“The measured ticks and tacks of a turn signal in an otherwise quiet car. The pitter-patter of rain on the skylights of my childhood home. Pretty much any word that passes through Morgan Freeman’s lips. These are among the few sounds in the world that can calm me to my very core even without actually having to hear them. Just the thought of these sensory sensations is able to render my mind silent in a way that no mind-body-based or breath-focused guided meditation ever has.”

“However none of these things even hold a candle to the sound a record player makes in the seconds after you drop the needle on the outermost edge of a vinyl record and just after the final notes of the last song of both the A and B sides of the record. That static alone was enough to make me buy a record player for myself at age 16 with the money I had saved from babysitting. It was and remains the best impulse purchase I have ever made.

After two months of my record player pretty much just sitting on my desk because the only record I had was some indie band’s album that I bought on a friend’s recommendation, and try as I might I just could not get on board, my brother gave me what I consider my first album. It was the Sigh No More album by one of my favorite bands, Mumford & Sons. That album got me through one of the darkest periods of my life and I can still remember the countless nights spent lying on the carpet in my room, staring at the ceiling, listening to the record on repeat, only being pulled out of the trance I was in when it came time to flip the record over.

I never truly realized the power of music to help you escape your own warped reality and to make you feel like you are not alone until I heard the album’s final song, “After The Storm” coming through my record player’s speakers. Despite having heard the song plenty of times before getting the record on vinyl through headphones and car speakers, it was only when I heard it the way that I have since come to believe music is supposed to be heard, on vinyl, that the booming kick drum felt like a heartbeat, and that the lyric, “There will come a time, you’ll see/ With no more tears/ And love will not break your heart/ But dismiss your fears/ Get over your hill and see/ What you find there/ With grace in your heart/ And flowers in your hair,” pierced through the fog in my mind and resonated with me.

It was that feeling that I was left with as the static sounded after the song ended that made me want to be a songwriter, and for that I am forever grateful. I have even added the sound of vinyl static to the beginning and other select parts of one of my new, not yet released songs, “Broken Home’s Daughter” so that those of my fans who have never experienced that feeling can hopefully feel that same effect.

I have felt like such a proud parent—which at 20 years old is not a frequent sensation that I experience—seeing the resurgence of vinyl records in the past few years. While I have used the phrase, “how can this be considered music” a few times, if I referenced my favorite artists and bands, the average listener will have probably at least heard of most of them, so I do not feel that I can truly be classified as a music snob (like say John Cusack’s character in High Fidelity).

That is why even my fellow Top 40 radio listeners should feel comfortable taking my word on the matter when I declare that despite all of the advances made in speakers/sound systems and consumer headphones, that nothing beats vinyl when it comes to sonic quality. I get that record players and their accompanying record collections take up more room than an iPod/iPhone does and that they are heavier to carry around, but unless you have access to a professional recording studio, you are not hearing your favorite music the way that its creator(s) intended for it to be heard.

Not only that, but having a working record player on display is like having 18 year old scotch in your liquor cabinet—it makes you seem more refined and creates the perception that there is more to you than meets the eye. Whether you make the switch for the sound quality improvement or for the extra style points, know that you are making a great investment.”
Kathryn Dean

Kathryn Deans’ forthcoming full length album produced by Chris Seefried (Andra Day, Lana Del Rey, Fitz and the Tantrums) arrives in stores this fall. Hit the Lights is available now.

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PHOTO: ANGELO KRITIKOS

Kathryn Dean Tour Dates (on tour with Tiffany)
August 24 – Nashville, TN at 12th and Porter
August 25 – Carmel, IN at The Warehouse
August 26 – Edwardsville, IL at The Wildey Theatre
August 30 – Three Oaks, MI at The Acorn Theater
September 4 – Lexington, MI at Lexington Village Theatre
September 7 – New York, NY at Gramercy Theatre
September 8 – Asbury Park, NJ at Wonder Bar
September 9 – Bay Shore, NY at Boulton Center for the Performing Arts
September 10 – New Hope, PA at Havana
September 11 – Vienna, VA at Jammin Java

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