Joel Levi,
The TVD First Date

“My first physical connection to music was in the early nineties via cassette tape. I can still picture the frustration, when I listened to a tape so much that it finally unraveled in my tape deck. It was the compact disc that dominated most of my adolescence. It wasn’t until high school that I got a proper introduction to vinyl, and it was quite a revelation. My good friend Jason, who at the time was well into his twenties, put it upon himself to get me educated.”

“I didn’t even know how the record player worked. He sat me down and told me the first thing I needed to listen to on vinyl was Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited. It was like I was listening to music for the first time. We sat cross-legged in his living room and took in every nuance of the sound. The full range of the vinyl was hitting my ears in such a profound way. After we finished both sides of the record, I looked at him and said, “What else do you have?”

My introduction to vinyl was really my introduction into the music and genres that would help form the foundation to my songwriting. My youth was mostly filled with pop music, but after I was introduced to Jason’s record collection my tastes really started to evolve. I then started diving into the Ryan Adams and Wilco records. These artists, along with a healthy dose of bands from the sixties and seventies, became a huge influence. I still remember hearing Yankee Hotel Foxtrot on vinyl and thinking “I don’t get this.” It was somewhere after the third listen that Jeff Tweedy’s musical genius hit me like a ton of bricks. Most likely it was the full attention that vinyl demands of you that helped reveal his brilliance.

One my favorite things about living in Nashville is having a gem like Grimey’s New & Preloved Music. It is easily my favorite record store. Not only is it home to Nashville’s greatest collection of records, but it’s also a hub for local and touring live music. In my opinion it is the cultural epicenter of the modern Nashville music scene. It has the storefront accessible on street level, and then has one of the city’s coolest small venues below in the basement. Aptly named, The Basement is the first venue I ever played when I moved here. The acoustic in-store performances in the shop are some of my favorite intimate places to see local and national acts.

Grimey’s hosts one of my favorite days of the year, Record Store Day. It’s like Christmas in April. I always get so excited to see the storefront filled with people, and to hear the live music that plays outside all day long. That’s really the beauty of music and also the beauty of a record store: its ability to bring people together.

Nashville’s music scene has really evolved over the past couple of years. It’s no longer solely defined by country music. This is no more clearly defined than in the records that reside inside the walls of Grimey’s. It makes me proud to be a Nashville native, and proud to be a patron of one of the nation’s finest record stores.”
Joel Levi

Joel Levi’s self-titled full-length release arrives in stores on May 4.

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PHOTO: HEATHER HEMMEGER

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