Liv Greene,
The TVD First Date

“My earliest memory of vinyl is a peculiar one, in that it is not associated with a singular moment, but rather tied to a once-a-year family tradition.”

“As a child of the late, late ’90s, vinyl was not a common occurrence in my childhood—the market having been overtaken by tapes, and then CDs. However, there was an annual occasion where my dad would pull out some records, and I remember it well. Growing up in a Catholic household with family ancestry from New Orleans and a father who had lived there for a handful of years, Mardi Gras was a big holiday for us. Every year as a kid I would get excited for king cake, and just as important to the tradition as the food, I would get ready to dance to one song in particular, on vinyl.

It was “Mardi Gras Mambo” by the Hawketts (1954), and this recording became a huge part of my very young childhood, as I remember being 5, 6, and 7 years old and asking my dad to play it over and over again. Being my earliest memory of vinyl, I remember watching him turn on the turntable, pull out the record, and drop the needle, only to pick it up and drop it again and again and again to please my young sisters and I begging to hear it again. Something about it being on vinyl made it even more special: it was ceremonious, dancing, and listening to that song was its own event.

It’s not usual that music is its own event in our lives: it usually exists in the background. Throughout my childhood, I am grateful to remember tons of incredible music—by songwriters that to this day I count as influences like Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, Teddy Thompson, etc. However, most of it exists in my memory in the background: as the soundtrack to a lazy Sunday afternoon. As the entertainment for a long car ride to Florida. The music blasting out of the speakers on the patio as my parents pulled weeds in the backyard.

On the other hand, with all my memories of vinyl, the music was usually the main event. And I think this is a powerful part of this method of listening: it demands attention, not only to ensure that you flip the record when the time comes but because there’s a gravity to it. Listening to vinyl feels like a more connected way of listening, as you watch the mechanism translate the grooves into the vibrations in the air that we love so much.

As I got older, around 13 or 14 years old, vinyl sales soared as it became trendy, and being of the generation of late ’90s kids who bought into this trend in the early 2010s, this personal connection to vinyl flourished. My second earliest formative memory of vinyl happened when I was this age, in an Urban Outfitters, embarrassingly enough. I’d taken two busses with friends to shop for some “cool” and “hipster” new things. (Everyone wants to be cool at 14!)

I had some babysitting money, 20 dollars and some change, and was digging through the newfangled record section. I remember my sister had introduced me to a Bon Iver song on her iPod a few weeks prior, “Beach Baby,” and given that when you’re 14 your older sister is the coolest person in the world. My eyes lit up when I saw For Emma Forever Ago by Bon Iver for sale for just over 20 bucks. I immediately headed to the register, spent my hard-earned money to buy it, and rode the bus home, eagerly devouring the words on the jacket.

Arriving home, I remember it was a cool fall night with a fire in the fireplace, and given permission to play it in the living room where the only turntable was, I listened to the whole thing top to bottom, sleeve in hand, reading the lyrics and liner notes as I listened. There was something magical about that night, and I remember it extremely clearly, the music, the lyric, the sight and sound of the record spinning.

After that, I was hooked: I dug through my parents’ record collections and listened to any and everything that caught my eye. Lots of Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Graham Nash, ELO, Joan Baez, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, etc. Vinyl became a way for me to really listen, to focus on the experience of listening to a record, top to bottom, as a complete unit, with the experience being visual and aura—sleeve in hand.

While vinyl was not a possibility for the record I just released, Every Bright Penny, I think there are elements of my experience with vinyl that shaped the way I made the record. Listening to vinyl influenced the way I think about records as whole units. They have an arc, a flow, and they are cohesive. In a world dominated by singles and short-playing records, vinyl exists as a reminder of the days of long-playing cohesive albums, and the possibility for music to be an experience in and of itself. In fact, in picking the track order, this experience of music felt important to me.

It’s a value of mine that I don’t take for granted, and occasionally I will try and listen to music, whether it’s electronic or CD or whatever else, like I would if it were on vinyl: in one sitting, top to bottom, and actively. There are plenty of full-length records still being made today, vinyl or not, that are meant to be savored this way, whether or not the ceremony of putting on a record is present, and vinyl, to me, serves as that reminder to feel more connected to that experience of listening.”
Liv Greene

Every Bright Penny, the new full-length release from Liv Greene is in stores now.

Liv Greene Official | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
PHOTO: LOUISE BICHAN

This entry was posted in The TVD Storefront. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text