Lately I’ve spotted what I believe to be either a new audio trend — or perhaps it’s always been this way, and I just wasn’t paying enough attention to notice. More often I’ve seen record players be the music player of choice, or live musical entertainment with actual instruments offering up harmonic vibrations for the soul at brick and mortar stores. I noticed them all while when either visiting my friends houses for the holidays, or when shopping at different stores or facilities, as well as when at some of the many hospitality environments in my area. During all these events, I received that feeling of warmth you get from that pure audio goodness — and it felt extraordinary. There’s a few different reasons why it feel good to me. I’m sure you have your own; I’ll explain mine first, and you can email yours to me afterwards.
I live in Sonoma County, a small county in Northern California, or rather a large county, with smaller pockets of things to do, beyond tasting the fruit of the community (you call it wine). Sonoma County is home to some of the most famous wineries in the world, and people travel here for destination weddings, weekend retreats, or just a place on their bucket list to visit because of its reputation for wines, delectable food choices and/or that hometown atmosphere it provides. I too am no stranger to visiting these same places around the county, and mainly because of the phenomenal food selection I have access too. During these visits where I often wander in search of a great experience, I’ve found unique boutique storefronts, eateries and shopping experiences, all with their own vibe; some are better than others, and more now with an audio element that most definitely adds to its overall shopping experience.
Back in October I visited Timber Cover resort, in Timber Cove, Ca, where my fiancée and her mother stayed the weekend in one the quaint rooms. When asked to spend the day there, I went along for a day’s worth of fun, and to document all that it would offer to anyone who’d care to listen. Timber cove offers beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, straight out of your room. You can enjoy some of the delicious wines from Sonoma County on the deck while listening to some vinyl that you’ve hand selected from their lobby record library, and play them on the Crosley Audio Record player supplied in each room; just make sure to put the records back in the correct sleeve and return them — Jimmy Hendrix’s ghost is watching you.
Timber cove is great, and if you are thinking about visiting Sonoma County, it’s a place you should not miss. The week of Christmas, a good friend came into town from Texas, and I was lucky enough to spend time with him and the family. The very first thing I noticed when entering the home was the very cool TEAC turntable, sitting above its vinyl storage cabinet, prominently displayed in the living room and the main source of audio. For me it this brought joy and nostalgia, but also a bit of delightfulness in knowing that more people still enjoy this wonderful audio format.
Maybe I enjoy analog formats more than I used to, or maybe digital audio has just taken up less of my daily music experience in life. Whichever may be true for you, know there are still lots of places to find vinyl in your area, should you be interested in diving straight into this auditory journey. The vinyl records themselves bring another analog experience to this avenue of audio by making the overall shopping experience for music very interactive in the interactions between you, the other shoppers, the staff, and the local store you shop at; my local record store is “The Last Record Store,” in Santa Rosa, Calif., but whenever I see vinyl outside my favorite stores (LRS, & Amoeba Music – S.F.), I’ll take a minimum of 20 minutes perusing the catalog for sale. Barnes & Noble, a bookstore I frequent for physical books vs. more accessible digital copies, always has a great shopping experience, from its well cataloged inventory on a vast range of subject matter, as well as magazines, a children’s area, lattes for business pro on the go, and also a vinyl section, often displayed in main entrances, or just past the stairways and elevators. It’s almost as if they’ve strategically been placed in areas with the highest volume of foot traffic. I should note that B&N sales aren’t great lately and If Amazon bought them, I would not be surprised in the slightest; I might even be rather pleased, actually.
If you don’t want the in-person, face-to-face interaction of shopping for vinyl at your local store because you don’t have time, can’t get to the store or just don’t want to, the internet has a few solutions for you. Vinyl Me, Please, is a fun vinyl service that offers not only a custom tailored record each month, but also sends you a party in a box. You’ll receive your club records, as well as any purchases you’ve made in their store in one big box stuffed with extras.
There are other vinyl services out there, but I like what Vinyl Me, Please, brings to the table with theirs. I’m not going to tell you where to shop for music, or where to find great musical experiences, nor will I tell you how to enjoy the music, but I continually tell you engage more with it, and that you should pay for quality, whether that be in the form of live concerts, higher quality digital audio or paid music services. Share the experience with your family and friends. When I do, I find a deep connection with them, and we open ourselves up to new musical conversations, experiences and much more. That feeling of finding common ground between friends old and new, is one that feels good and one that leaves you wanting more.
What music experiences have you engaged in lately? You can share them with me here: johnny@rAVePubs.com