Becca Richardson,
The TVD First Date

“The first vinyl record I can ever remember holding was Phoebe Snow’s self-titled debut. It was part of my father’s vast collection of records that sat in haphazard stacks around the living room.”

“I fell in love with that record, both with her songs and with the majestic cover art. The cover is an illustration of her profile, in light purples and blues, large curls, round glasses. I was drawn to how determined she looked, chin to the sky, the portrait of a strong female front and center. My brain makes connections between colors and sounds and to this day I can’t listen to “Poetry Man” without picturing the swirling hues of her album cover.

I wouldn’t start my own record collection until many years later when I moved to San Francisco and got my first big girl job. I would go down to Amoeba Records on the weekends and pick through the used vinyl as I didn’t quite have the budget for new records yet. I had never learned how to look for good used vinyl so I had no idea to examine the records for scratches or bends. I was mostly looking for good album art. From the multicolored illustration on So Far by CSNY (interestingly painted by Joni Mitchell) to the unironic photo of Billy Joel standing in an alley holding a trumpet on 52nd Street, I was drawn to the beauty and absurdity of vinyl album art. It lent such a bigger canvas than the CDs I was accustomed to and the images would transport me to another decade in an instant.

When I could finally afford new vinyl records, the first one I bought was The Avenues by Nashville artist Lera Lynn. Her music sounds rich on any platform, but on vinyl it is heavenly. That record made me start looking into the Nashville scene more, discovering the vast fresh talent coming from the city I had assumed was all honky-tonk and new country. At the time I had no idea that six months later I’d be packing up my San Francisco apartment, stuffing it into my Corolla, and moving to Nashville myself.

Nashville has the most dedicated community of music players and lovers I have ever known, so it’s not surprising that at the heart of that community is a record store, Grimey’s. I’ve become friends with a lot of the people who work at Grimey’s and they’re all incredibly talented musicians in their own right. They’re also like encyclopedias for music, which is always helpful when you’re trying to figure out which record to add to your collection. If I ever move to a new city, I now know that you should definitely acquaint yourself with the record store as soon as possible because chances are you’re going to meet some high quality folks there.

At a glance, it seems wild that in an age where you can have 10,000 songs in your pocket people are still investing in these huge physical pieces of music. But I don’t think vinyl will ever be killed. Music is about connection, between the creator and the listener, between people enjoying a record together in the living room. Vinyl records can make music the centerpiece of an evening, not just the background soundtrack. The physicality of placing a record on the player, flipping the switch, and gently lowering the needle connects the body to the sound in a way you can’t achieve with Mp3s. And having the weight of vinyl in my hands, studying the visual representation of the album, I feel further connected to the era, the artist, and the music.”
Becca Richardson

We Are Gathered Here, the debut release from Becca Richardson arrives in stores October 6, 2017.

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PHOTO: JASMINE ARCHIE

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