Michaela Anne,
The TVD First Date

“I didn’t grow up listening to vinyl. I was a child of the ’90s and CDs. My Discman and my big notebook of CDs was how I consumed my music collection. But after college, living in New York City, I moved in with my boyfriend and he had a turntable. At the same time, I started a job at Nonesuch Records, who were quick to jump into the vinyl revival, and I was lucky enough to get to take home some copies of the latest releases.”

“It was a brand new world of listening for me. I was nervous at first of how to place the needle, how not to scratch the vinyl, how to carefully return it to its sleeve, and how to keep our growing collection organized alphabetically. The effort required gave the act of listening a sense of attention and additional care that seemed to be missing from my Discman, iTunes library, computer or phone.

My new favorite pastime was bringing home a cheap bottle of Campo Viejo Rioja from the corner liquor store, picking out a record, placing that needle down, cozying up on the couch with the sleeve and taking in the artwork, musician and songwriting credits. Connecting names to instruments, seeing who played on multiple records, who wrote songs for various people…it only deepened my tangible connection to the album itself.

It’s how I discovered Rodney Crowell wrote, yet again, one of my favorite songs from an Emmylou Harris record, “You’re Supposed to be Feeling Good” (from Luxury Liner). It’s how I learned about Jerry Jeff Walker’s record Ridin’ High where he covers many of his friends songs from Chuck Pyle’s “Jaded Lover” to Guy Clark’s “Like a Coat From the Cold.”

My appetite for vinyl started increasing as our collection grew from one cardboard box to two milk crates to scoping out IKEA for the perfectly shaped vinyl shelves. As my boyfriend and I started traveling more, checking out local record shops became another favorite activity. I had a wish list of records I wanted, but hopefully waiting to happen upon them in any of the various record stores we visited was a happy practice in patience and pursuit that just wouldn’t be satisfied by ordering them online.

I still remember finding The Louvin Brothers’ Satan Is Real at Domino Sound Record Shack in New Orleans, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and Neil Young’s Harvest at Grimey’s on one of my first trips to Nashville. I found Elvis’ Sun Sessions in some dusty little basement shop in Frederick, Maryland, and endlessly scoured antique shops to find the classic country records I love: Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Buck Owens’ Live at Carnegie Hall (one of the best!).

I would be gifted my relatives’ old collections and get to sift through, picking my favorites while observing their personal tastes. Each record lent some insight into their personalities and youth; imagining what their lives were like when they were buying ’80s pop synth soul records for my uncle or 1940s big bands from my grandmother.

Vinyl is a talking point. It’s a distinct reminder of the many layers of meaning any record can have for any person. A physical symbol of the memories that music can hold. I remember the experiences connected to these records far more vividly than I remember someone sharing a Spotify link or recommending a digital download. I remember the excitement I felt listening to my childhood favorites like Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” or Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” for the first time as an adult, with the scratch of the turntable starting them off.

I remember gazing at my boss’s vast personal collection at Nonesuch, asking what he recommend I start with as he would generously let me pick some records to take home and explore. One time he pulled a Charlie Rich record and recommended the song “Life Has Its Little Ups and Downs,” sharing the lesser known fact that Charlie’s wife actually wrote the song. I remember listening to it that night, getting up from the couch every 15 minutes or so to turn to side B, then back to side A, then back to side B and so on.

I warmly feel a sense of home when I think of the many different nights I’ve made dinner while an Oscar Peterson record plays quietly from the living room. And I’ll never forget the Christmas I shared with my family, as an adult, unwrapping a rare gift from my older brother. As soon as I pulled the wrapping back and saw the vintage copy of Elvis’ Blue Christmas, our shared favorite childhood album, I immediately, and embarrassingly, burst into tears, overwhelmed by the flash of memories that one record held in my hands.”
Michaela Anne

Michaela Anne’s Desert Dove arrives in stores on September 27 via Yep Roc Records—on vinyl.

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PHOTO: MATT WIGNALL

TOUR DATES
September 10-15 – Nashville, TN – AmericanaFest
October 4 – Asheville, NC – New Belgium Brewing Company
October 5 – Nashville, TN – Grimey’s In-Store
October 10 – Decatur, GA – Eddie’s Attic
October 11 – Raleigh, NC – Kings
October 13 – Charlotte, NC – The Evening Muse
October 15 – Washington, DC – DC9
October 16 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
October 18 – Lowell, MA – The Town and The City Festival
October 19 – Saugerties, NY – Hangin’ & Sangin’ Live at Broken Wing Barn

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