Vinyl record lovers and rare-release hunters alike will celebrate Record Store Day on Saturday (April 21) by lining up at their favorite local shops. Held each year since 2008, the day is meant to call attention to independent music retailers and the wealth of resources they provide for fans and artists.
Many independent stores have disappeared due to the decline in physical music sales and the rise of big-box retailers and digital downloads, but those that remain are an important gathering place for music fans. Each year, unique vinyl records, CDs and other collectibles are produced in limited quantities that can only be purchased at participating stores for one day. Artists often make in-store appearances, too.
One of those artists is Dierks Bentley, who will play at Seattle's Easy Street Records at 1 p.m.
"Record Store Day is such a great event that has hardly had any attention in country music," Bentley said. "Some of the coolest exclusive product comes out on this day at indie retailers, and I wanted country fans to be able to get in on the action. I may have a few surprise special guests up my sleeve, too."
Pistol Annies, the trio of Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, are releasing a vinyl edition of their debut album, Hell on Heels.
"The music of the Pistol Annies is the three of us truly being ourselves -- not only in our songwriting and storytelling but also in the way we perform as a team," Lambert said. "We wanted to make music that people talk about but might not want to admit, and it's the kind of raw and honest country music that deserves to be on vinyl."
A Buck Owens coloring book is one of the more interesting packages being offered. In 1970, Owens commissioned the books but they were reportedly only sold sporadically at his Crystal Palace venue. These are the original books, not reprints.
The package comes with a four-track "flexidisc," plus a download card for your everyday listening pleasure. And with only 2,500 coloring book/flexidisc combos being shipped out, it's sure to become an instant collector's item. The discs will be printed in either red, white or blue and feature the songs "Act Naturally," "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail," "Together Again" and "Crying Time," all of which are depicted in the coloring book.
Other limited-run releases include: Ryan Adams' "Heartbreak a Stranger/Black Sheets of Rain"; Black Prairie's Singers, Vol. 1: Portland; Carolina Chocolate Drops performing Run DMC's "You Be Illin'"; the Civil Wars' Billie Jean and Live at Amoeba; Justin Townes Earle's "Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now"; Lydia Loveless' "Bad Way to Go"; and a sampler album from New West Records and WXPN's World Café featuring Buddy Miller, Steve Earle, Billy Joe Shaver and more.
The list of limited releases also includes: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals: Live From the Legendary Sun Studio; Caitlin Rose's Piledriver Waltz; Ricky Skaggs and Tony Rice's Skaggs and Rice; Ralph Stanley's "Single Girl" and "Little Birdie" on 78 RPM vinyl; a vinyl boxed set from Uncle Tupelo; Sara Watkins featuring Fiona Apple on the Everly Brothers' "You're the One I Love"; and the late Townes Van Zandt's At My Window.
Other artists making appearances on Record Store Day include: Jonny Corndawg at Euclid Records in New Orleans; Will Hoge at Silver Platters in Seattle; Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers at Criminal Records in Athens, Ga.; Langhorne Slim at Grimey's New & Preloved Music in Nashville; Lydia Loveless at Lost Weekend Records in Columbus, Ohio; Trampled by Turtles at Sound Garden in Baltimore; Jim White at Horizon Records in Greenville, S.C.; and Dar Williams at Silver Platter in Seattle.
Of course, there's much more to be found at your local record store all year round, too. And sometimes just going to browse is its own reward.
"Record stores are the hippest libraries," says Elizabeth Cook, an independent Americana singer-songwriter who has her own show on Sirius XM satellite radio. "Going to a record shop for me is like a little treasure hunt no one can take you on but yourself. It's fun to look around and see the other shoppers, too, totally entrenched in their own adventure, anticipating the reward of heart-wrenching, soul-filling, joy-making music that might just be a bin or a flip away."
Search for participating record shops at the official website for Record Store Day.