This is a story of two brothers who made their way back to Clarksville from the west coast.
They did not return empty-handed. They brought with them the nation’s growing obsession with vinyl. That’s right —black, waxy old-timey records. Because of them, Clarksville’s downtown once again has a local record shop.
It all started last February in a rent-by-the-day booth at Miss Lucille’s Antiques, where Tony and Matt Shrum set up to sell some records. Not CD’s, not cassettes, but those round, flat, mostly black grooved platters that when spinning under a needle, bring music to speakers with a crackle and a pop.
According to Tony, it was the enthusiasm from the locals that pushed the Shrums to negotiate a lease on a brick-and-mortar spot on Second and Franklin, which was formerly Joy’s Jewelers.
Coined the “Vinyl Revival” back in 2015 by Forbes magazine, across the nation major cities have experienced a resurgence of people collecting records. There is a measurable buzz locally and on campus about Clarksville’s first re-entry, named &Vinyl.
Although the shop maintains basic downtown retail hours, it is their after-hours events that are drawing APSU students and local twenty-somethings to the nostalgia of records.
On Feb. 17, the store was packed with 40+ folks bouncing intimately to live, soulful hip hop performed by Clarksville’s Case Arnold. The crowd was full of young, eclectic, friendly and loose students and townies.
The appreciative audience rocked out on the makeshift dance floor with the handbuilt record rack splitting the small space into different sections. Toward the front window was the stage. Brave souls sitting on the floor claimed the front row.
The flowing of folks filled up all the free space from the sidewalk, through the front door and all the way back to the unisex bathroom.
Behind an old display case, perhaps left behind from the jewelry store, the Shrums engaged with their friends and customers and held a gentle eye on the donation basket that seemed to fill up magically with singles and fives.
Tony, the older brother, tends the store most days. For steady income, he manages the web presence for a music magazine online. Matt also keeps a second job, working at a retail gig when not keeping after the books of &Vinyl and managing the new enterprise. Both seem happy with the event unfolding in front of them.
Listen to The All State’s interview with Tony Shrum, co-owner of &Vinyl.
Case Arnold is a local hip-hop hero and several members of the audience mouthed the words through most of the set list. He freely shared cuts from his developing projects, including “WAIT” from his most recent Pause/Reset EP.
After nearly an hour of originals, Arnold opened the floor for a Cypher session where audience members laid down some verse and improvised to his beats. This was homemade art and community at its best.
When the place isn’t filled with live artists performing, people are browsing the record collections and treated to a piecemeal collection of vintage cameras (video and still), turntables and a few cassettes (mostly old metal).
There is a comfortable old couch by the window that looks out onto Franklin Street, and posters and T-shirts hung on the wall — Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and The Doors.
What makes the new shop perhaps most inviting are its proprietors. These two young men, Matt and Tony Shrum both are excited about what they have started and want to welcome APSU students, faculty, staff — everyone, to reclaim a time when music was slower, more intentional and
&Vinyl is closed on Monday, but opens at 11 a.m. every other day. They close at 6 p.m. on Sundays, 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Listen to Case Arnold’s song “Wait” below.