– I have spent the entire day being excited about this news: Grimey’s is expanding. This is because I used to live in New York City, where record stores did not expand. Oh no. They closed routinely, and most certainly did not ever get bigger. But Nashville isn’t NYC, and it’s not really like the rest of the world either. Record stores still exist here, and grow. Imagine that. It’s almost too much for my former-New Yorker self to digest. Particularly because the expansion, dubbed Grimey’s Too, will also include a bookstore, coffee shop and outdoor space, presumably for bigger and better shows and events. Bookstores have an even worse fate than record stores in NYC! Breathe.
Here’s what the Grimey’s newsletter said about the whole thing: ” Details are not yet ready for prime time but I can tell you that we are expanding! We’ve leased the building next door and have lots of great things in store for you. We’ve got a few more ducks to get in a row before revealing more but suffice it to say that the increasingly-cramped environment at Grimey’s will finally be solved. You’ll be able to shop more easily and we’ll have more to offer you.” And the Cream had the scoop this A.M.
Record stores are an extremely nostalgic thing for me, as I am sure they are for many of you. Hanging around them was an activity in and of itself when I was a kid – I remember my first tape (The Monkees, no joke) and my first CD (Taylor Dane, also no joke. Granted, this was my mom’s purchase for our new family CD player, the weird foreign thing that it was). A day spent hanging around Tower Records was as much of an experience as going to the amusement park. I’m not entirely sure what we’d do there…with little money, every purchase was carefully thought out and lamented over. But I’d scan those racks, looking for a fix, or maybe check out the bulletin boards examining the show posters, where they would hang one on top of another in pastels and neon brights and screaming block letters, maybe for this week, maybe for a show long past.
Most of all, I remember counting out the dollars and quarters I’d use to buy that record and race home to listen to it – which I’d do, all the way through, many times. After all, this record cost money. I saved up for it, could hold it in my hand, keep it, savor it.
As record stores disappeared faster than the time it takes to illegally download a new album, this experience faded. My sister was in town visiting last week, and I asked her if she might like to go to Grimey’s. She explained to me that she doesn’t really buy physical albums, and didn’t really have any connection to that “rummaging-through-record-stacks” thing since most of them were closed by the time she had teenager allowance to spare (she’s quite a bit younger than I am). I felt sad. I wished they would have waited for her. (Luckily, she managed to come out of it all with good taste and a penchant for East African music – and most importantly, a sense that music is an art with a value).
I still have a box of letters with notes from camp boyfriends and quizzes my best friend and I would pass to each other during class in middle school. I hold on to memories that way. More so with music, even. When I walk down the aisles of Grimey’s (and stores like the Groove, too) and flip through records I feel that wash of nostalgia again. The smell of aging cardboard, newsprint, plastic, poster glue. I always leave spending more money than I should. A lot of the time, I buy records I’ve gotten for free as a music journalist, only in the vinyl version. If I enjoy an LP, I want to remember that moment where I handed over my cash, carried it home, ripped off the clear wrap and listened to it for the first time or 100th time.
And I feel young again. And I feel like a music fan. I live in a town of ’em. Thank heavens.