Bo Armstrong,
The TVD First Date

“According to Armstrong family lore, I broke the needle on our record player when I was two years old, and when my dad went to the store to replace the cartridge, he returned with an entirely new addition to the home stereo system—a CD player. The ’90s beckoned, and my dad would join countless others in burying milk crates full of well-loved vinyl records in closets to make way for the flashy discs of the future.”

“Fast forward thirty years or so. CDs have faded (that took less than a decade) and digital downloads have been swallowed up by the endlessness of streaming. Searching for a more intentional listening experience, I joined the vinyl renaissance in 2018. While visiting my folks that Christmas, I rummaged through my parents’ old records so I could kickstart a collection of my own. They didn’t mind, of course, because some punk broke their record player a few decades prior.

That New Years, my folks trekked to Nashville for a visit, and my dad dropped the needle on Viva Terlingua by Jerry Jeff Walker practically on arrival. I watched him sit down and listen to the record top to bottom. He held the album cover in his hands, started at the artwork and muttered every lyric under his breath as if he was reliving some sacred experience.

When the last song faded and the record spun out, he looked at me and said matter-of-factly: “This is the reason your mom and I moved to Texas.” He pointed to the pictures of Luckenbach that lined the album notes and continued: “I swear to God, I just thought it looked cool, and I felt like I could make it work.”

That record—the music that was cut into the vinyl and the artwork it was packaged in— had an incredible impact on my father, who was at the time of his discovery a newly minted thirty-year-old from Pittsburgh, PA, looking for a place to start a family. It’s wild to think that I might not exist—let alone be Texas singer/songwriter—had my dad never picked up that album. And he’s not even a musician!

So when I released my debut LP Chasing Ballads this past November (2020), I was adamant about pressing some records. There’s some magic in spinning vinyl and holding the artwork in your hands—it can make a dream feel real.

Plus, it was pretty special to send a copy to my parents. A little pricey because I had to send them a new record player along with it, but worth every penny.”
Bo Armstrong

Chasing Ballads, the new full length release from Bo Armstrong is in stores now—on vinyl.

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PHOTO: ERIC RYAN ANDERSON

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