Posted at 1 p.m. April 3, 2017

Vinyl night offers music-lovers connection

Flag Raising

The vinyl countdown:

Patrons Matt West and his daughter, Mariah West, pose with vinyl covers at Phoenix Books and Music.

Isaiah Colbert

Music lovers who long to share songs with others but have nowhere to go don’t need to look any further than the Knights of the Turntable at Phoenix Books and Music’s Vinyl Night.

During Vinyl Night, customers discuss why they like the music they share what they know about the artists or the group and their history and style of music. “It’s an educational thing as well as a lot of fun,” Don McKee, owner of Phoenix Books and Music, said.

Nights at the Turntable began nine years ago, during the resurgence of vinyl. Two huge vinyl collectors happened to be shopping in McKee’s store at the same time. McKee suggested that the customers get to know each other. When the three of them started to talk about music, they realized rather than having an accidental meeting with someone in a store, they needed to do so on a regular basis.

Knights of the Roundtable started out as a suggested name when McKee invited a few people over to listen and discuss music in his basement. Knights of the Turntable became the title of the group where everyone is invited to come and share music that they love.

Vinyl Night is an event that takes place the first Thursday of the month at Phoenix Books and Music. For two years, everyone who comes gets to bring their own music.

“We have a wide variety of people who show up,” McKee said. “Teenagers and people all the way up to their 60s.”

The connectedness to music as well as to those who share it draws people to Vinyl Night.

“The common theme is that everyone is totally into music and wants to hear a wide variety and want to listen to people tell their stories about their songs,” McKee said. “If you don’t like the music somebody’s playing, just wait 10 minutes and somebody else will be up.”

What makes Vinyl Night special is not only the diverse genres of music that can be heard, but the sharing of people’s musical interests with one another.

“What’s kind of unique about this is that it takes you back to the old days of sharing your music face-to-face with your friends,” McKee said. “This is the opposite of listening to music via earbud. This is where we’re all listening to music at the same time and reacting to it.”

Most nights, there is a theme to the music that is shared. “Every once in a while, we do a wide-open month where we don’t have a theme and people can bring in anything they want,” McKee said.

Past themes have included guilty pleasures and guess my theme where music is played and people have to guess the culminating theme between the songs. In coming up for themes for Vinyl Night, the group writes ideas on a notecard and pass it around for discussion or a vote. March’s theme was three song titles that make a sentence. “You’ll hear anything here,” McKee said. “You never know and that’s fantastic. Next month’s theme is transportation.”

“I really enjoy it,” Mike Allen, a four-month participant of Vinyl Night, said. “It’s casual, and for record enthusiasts, this is a really great opportunity.”

The next Vinyl Night is at 6 p.m. on May 4 at Phoenix Books and Music.


Art exhibit promotes female empowerment

College displays former student's art in gallery