14 April 2009

Record Store Day, Day 2: Harvest Records, Asheville, NC

If you're just tuning in, all this week at SIO, I'm profiling some independent record stores that have had an impact on my brief tenure on this bright blue marble. I am NOT ranking these record stores, merely providing anecdotes and/or vignettes of what these specific records stores mean in the context of a decade-plus of throwing money at patchouli-smelling, cooler-than-you hipster types.

And speaking of patchouli...Harvest Records in lovely Asheville, NC is, thankfully, free of any of the usual cliches that the city of Asheville embodies so well.

Harvest Records
There are many great things about Harvest Records; it's not a large store by any means, but somehow they seem to pack every inch of space with music that you feel like you absolutely must buy. Plenty of vinyl, a decent used section, a wall of new releases, and (this really can make or break a record store) a great section for music mag and homemade zines. (Sometimes I feel the need to read about my music in sloopily put-together, handmade black and white, disproportionately sized zines.)

Harvest Records is not positioned in downtown Asheville--which is great, because downtown Asheville really is maddening. So you're free to peruse the fruits of the Harvest (Jesus, I'm sorry for that one...) without being accosted by a 40 year-old hippie looking to recruit you to his commune where Dennis Kucinich is their leader. The guys who own the store are really swell and friendly dudes and when you hear them talking with customers about how much they love Pearl Jam, Ten, it's not ironic at all. They really love that album (for some reason). Additionally, they have managed to bring some of the best shows I've seen to one of the best venues (The Grey Eagle, if you're keeping score) in the Southeast: Mark Kozelek, Magnolia Electric Co, Damien Jurado. Bonnie "Prince" Billy is making an rare appearance that I won't be around for thanks to these guys and their little record store.

The last time I made it to Harvest Records was in early August of 2008 (it's a quite a drive to Asheville from the Coast of South Carolina). I picked up The Black Kids, Partie Traumatic and The Jesus and Mary Chain, Psychocandy and rocked foolishly all the way to my Grandma's house in Kingsport, TN. I don't think I'll make it back to Harvest Records anytime soon and that saddens me. I used to live a mere hour and fifteen minutes from Asheville, NC but now I've tacked on an extra three hours to that equation. And quizzically enough one only begins to realize how good things were once they're gone. I think Tupac Shakur said that, later echoed in a sentiment by small-time rap artist-turned millionaire mogul Puff Daddy when he said:

Yeah livin the raw deal, three course meals Spaghetti, fettucini, and veal But still, everythings real in the field And what you cant have now, leave in your will But dont knock me for tryin to bury Seven zeros, over in rio dijanery

Or something like that.

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