Old Sounds and New Beginnings (3rd Annual Music Show was Saturday) – The Bloomingtonian

BLOOMINGTON, UNITED STATES – 2022/02/05: Display of rare records for sale at the 3rd Annual Music Show at the Monroe County Convention Center in Bloomington on February 5, 2022 in Bloomington, Ind. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

By Peter Kaczmarczyk – Special for The Bloomingtonian

I installed my long-neglected turntable at the start of Covid, hoping it would help me maintain my sanity and reconnect with the music of my youth. After years of letting go of that connection, this was the perfect escape from a world that was often hard to bear.

I had never stopped listening to music but it was mostly Youtube singles, which lacked sonic depth and the context of an entire album. I rarely got past a few dozen favorites and had forgotten the flow and rhythm of a well-crafted album side, where song placement was done with purpose, with the goal of creating a listening experience coherent and inclusive.

Soon I rediscover forgotten albums and deep pieces. Hero and Heroine by The Strawbs is a perfect example of an album that I loved and played more times than I can count, during some of the most unsettling times of my life, but had mostly forgotten. Hearing it again not only brought back good and bad memories for me, but also allowed me to reconsider my past, my choices and how I went from an often misguided youth to who I am today. at 56 years old. I found my record collection to be full of these forgotten gems and the stories of my life they told me.

Over time, I realized that an infusion of new albums was needed, to build new memories and create new stories. And I was determined not to just live in the past, although there was still a lot of early music that I wanted to discover. I never felt the music of my generation was better than today, it was special because of its place in my life, but great songs have been around for hundreds of years and new ones are written every day . So I started buying vinyl, choosing bands I had known for a long time but never really heard, like Big Star, and newer artists that had caught my ear like Death Cab for Cutie and Lana Del Rey. And with the vinyl renaissance, they could all be had in the format that gives me so much pleasure, with the tactile experience of careful handling of the record, the detail of album art and liner notes, and the sound full-bodied than digital music was playing. via a laptop will never have.

So, with that passion in full force, I was thrilled to attend the Bloomington Music Expo, where many vendors brought a variety of musical flavors to my backyard for me to immerse myself in. I was not deceived. The first table I went to focused on the most beloved music of my youth, Prog, even though I had always called it art-rock. The dealer was knowledgeable and helped me choose a Marillion album, which I had heard a lot about but never listened to. Also in his selection, I found a 1970 album to add to my Strawbs collection, featuring Rick Wakeman, who rose to fame with Yes and his own solo work.

From there, I checked out all the other album sellers. Many were rock-focused, although there was plenty of jazz, blues, world music and other styles to browse. There was a strong selection of old and used and relatively cheap. For fans of current artists, many newer versions were also available. Looking at some of them, I ended up buying something from Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, long on my list of “I should check them out” artists.

And if you like vintage collectibles, there were plenty to find. It’s probably best that someone grabbed the copy of Abbey Road from the Apple label before I got there. I didn’t see the price, but I probably would have bought it and ended up needing a second mortgage.

I should note that there were also a lot of CDs and sellers of music related items, but I was there for the vinyl. I came away with a dozen albums, about what my budget allowed, but I could have easily bought more. Of the three I’ve played so far, two are good quality and well worth the price. I’m disappointed with the third, Crime of the Century by Supertramp, way too many pops and cracks for the 10 bucks it costs. However, it replaces a truly important album from my long-lost youth, and the flaws became a minor distraction as my head floated over the music’s familiar strains and powerful lyrics. And it still sounds better than a digitally compressed online file or a cheaply produced CD.

Over the next few days I hope to play the rest, some I know and some will be completely new. To fully appreciate the novelty, it will be necessary to repeat the listening, to study the nuance of the instrumentation, the subtlety, or the absence of subtlety, of the lyrics. Some may disappoint, but it’s always a risk when discovering something new or rediscovering something forgotten. It does not bother me. I love the feel of the vinyl, the neat placement of the needle on the album, the care that goes into maintaining each one for future listens. The whole experience gives me a new window into my past and a wide avenue to take for my future. Nothing could bring me more joy or greater peace of mind.

Love? Take a second to support The Bloomingtonian on Patreon!