The Hodgepodge: The Resurgence of Vinyl & Why I Love It

Record Player

It’s no secret that music sales have seen a dip in recent years. This is especially the case when it comes to albums. Unless your Taylor Swift, artists struggle to get albums sold and as a result more emphasis has been put on singles. Another reason singles have been getting more emphasis than albums is streaming is now the most popular way listeners consume music. In 2014, on-demand streaming, both video and audio, was up 54%. This was no surprise to me. What was a big surprise to me however was the other format that experienced a gain in 2014: vinyl. What? People still listen to vinyl I thought? Indeed they do as vinyl experienced a gain of 54% in sales in 2014. In 2014, 9.2 million vinyl was sold compared to 2013 when 6.1 million vinyl was sold. These were the only two format to experience gains in sales. Digital album sales and digital song sales were both down 9% and 12% respectively.

As a 22-year-old person, I only remember back to cassettes being a thing. And that was when I was really young. For the majority of my life music was consumed either via CD or through digital means. With vinyl experiencing its highest sales since 1991 (Soundtrack started tracking sales then), this resurgence both perplexed me and intrigued me. In an age where digital music was right at your finger tips I didn’t see the need for vinyl. I chalked this up to just hipsters being hipsters and told myself to just move on. But I couldn’t do that. I found myself still intrigued as to why people love vinyl. I noticed a lot of the artists I listen to put their music out in vinyl too. For me this was a strange and new format.

Now being a history buff I was well aware of vinyl and how it was the way music was put out decades before. I worked briefly with vinyl as a radio DJ at my alma mater. When I say it briefly I mean one time and then never again. It was so much easier just queuing everything up digitally. Even CDs were much easier to work with than vinyl. By the way kudos to DJs back in the 60s and 70s who had to spin vinyl on the radio. That wasn’t easy work. So the point is that was the only taste of vinyl I had in my life up to this point.

I began to research online about why people love vinyl and why people have begun collecting it again. The most common reasons I came across were the sound quality, actually owning the music and the album format. Nostalgia was another reason listed, but obviously that couldn’t apply to me. The sound quality reason is a pretty hotly debated topic among audiophiles and casual listeners. Some people swear up and down that the sound of vinyl is much better than the sound of digital. Others say the exact opposite. As for my take, it depends on a variety of factors, but mainly it comes down to the vinyl pressing quality and the quality of the device you play it on. For the most part though, I don’t sense a huge difference between the sound on digital and the sound on vinyl. Your experience may vary.

The other two reasons certainly appealed to me. As I’ve said numerous times here on Country Perspective, I’ve found myself buying more albums than singles now. I used to just buy singles solely, but now I hardly ever buy singles. It’s made me understand why Garth Brooks wants his music not to be sold individually. Most true artists want you to listen to the whole album and really you should have to listen to a whole album to understand a song. A perfect example of this is Kendrick Lamar’s new album To Pimp A Butterfly. Each song tells a different part of the story being told and you have to listen to it from beginning to end to fully grasp it. As for owning the music, I’ve always been strictly against stealing music online. I’ve always bought my music legally. But buying it digitally certainly isn’t the same as buying a physical album. It’s just another file on your computer.

So with this all in mind I dove into the world of vinyl. I only bought two albums at first to make sure I enjoyed the format enough to continue my collection. I made sure to buy two albums I love too, as they could always be nice collectibles. The first two vinyl I ever bought were Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music and AC/DC’s Back in Black. Now you know how much I love Sturgill’s album, as it was Country Perspective’s 2014 Album of the Year. Back in Black to me is one of the best rock albums ever. Each song is simply great and it’s an album I can put on and listen to anytime, anywhere and enjoy it. Soon I bought another one. Then a couple more. Before I knew it I had myself a growing collection. Now I’m kind of addicted to vinyl. It’s crazy.

Why do I love this crazy format? Well more than anything it combines two of my favorite pastimes: listening to music and collecting stuff. From an early age I’ve always like to collect stuff from rocks (not my dumbest collection idea) to books to baseball cards (this is dumber than collecting rocks). I’ve also always liked looking at album cover art and the writing credits, things that are more emphasized in vinyl covers. Another pro of vinyl collecting today compared to yesteryear is most come with a CD and/or digital download copy of the album. You get two, possibly three formats, for the price of one. That’s a pretty good deal to me. And no it’s not just hipsters buying vinyl nor are you a hipster for buying vinyl. It’s a niche hobby for people who have a great passion for music for the most part (there are some hipsters, but they’re avoidable). Digital is still my main format, but vinyl certainly has a place in my heart now too. It’s made me have a greater appreciation for music and I look forward to growing my collection even bigger.

If you’re interested in getting into vinyl too feel free to reach out and I would be happy to answer any questions. There are also many great forums across the Internet that will answer your questions. Also don’t forget that Record Store Day is this Saturday! You can find out more information on that here. One more thing: For those wondering, this is my favorite vinyl record for multiple reasons:

Blackberry Smoke Vinyl

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers will release their new collaborative album Hold My Beer next Monday. You can order the album at this link. I’m pretty excited about hearing this one, as everything I’ve heard from it so far has been great. Two talents like Bowen and Rogers getting together for an album is something that doesn’t happen too often. I’ll definitely have a review on this one.
  • Texas country artist John Moreland will release his new album High Tulsa Heat next Tuesday. This is another album I’ve heard a lot of good buzz about and as someone who isn’t real familiar with Moreland’s work, I’m intrigued to give it a listen.
  • I think next week is Texas country release week. William Clark Green is also coming out with a new album next Tuesday and it’s titled Ringling Road. I’ve seen a lot of critics praise this one too. Can next week get here already?
  • The only mainstream release slated for next week is Brett Eldredge’s new single “Lose My Mind.”

Throwback Thursday Song

Sunny Sweeney – “From A Table Away” – I heard this song come on my local radio station this past week and forgot how great this song is. I was also pleasantly surprised to hear it on the radio. Why Kelsea Ballerini is on the radio and not Sweeney is beyond comprehension. Well I actually know why. But still Sweeney rocks and blows most on the radio away.

Non-Country Song of the Week

Sam Cooke – “Chain Gang” – You know that funky, upbeat sound of Thomas Rhett’s “Crash and Burn”? He ripped it off from Cooke’s “Chain Gang,” which is a way better song. Just give it a listen. It sounds exactly the same as the rhythm of “Chain Gang.” If I’m in charge of Cooke’s estate, I would be working on a law suit plan right now.

Tweet of the Week

You hear that Cole Swindell and Chase Rice? You’re creeps. Listen to Lindi Ortega.

Two iTunes Reviews That Will Make You Face Palm

Rhett Crash & Burn Stupid Comment 1

Rhett Crash & Burn Stupid Comment 2

Double the stupidity this week! These were both left under Thomas Rhett’s new single “Crash and Burn.” Apparently the first reviewer has never heard any of Rhett’s music that preceded his latest single. The second reviewer is just a moron. When Rhett’s career crashes and burns I hope he takes these two fans with him.

Schedule Note: There will not be a past pulse post this week. Between the large amount of album releases and covering the 50th ACM Awards, I just didn’t have time to do one this week. It’ll return next week. However I have a review coming out tomorrow of one of my favorite country albums of 2015 you don’t want to miss.

That’s it for the Hodgepodge this week! Be sure to sound off in the comments! 

21 thoughts on “The Hodgepodge: The Resurgence of Vinyl & Why I Love It

  1. Derek Hudgin April 16, 2015 / 11:30 am

    Vinyl is a world I desperately want to jump into and hope to join soon! And that Holding All The Roses one looks awesome!

    It’s also a shame Sunny isn’t on radio much. Concrete, the album which “From A Table Away” is on, is an equally great album like Provoked. Sunny could run most of her mainstream counterparts out of the water.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott April 16, 2015 / 12:11 pm

      When you jump in and you will, remember it’s easy to go crazy. Especially when you’re in the store and it feels like you’re seeing awesome albums left and right. So take it from me: it’s fun, but addicting.

      Funny story behind that Holding All The Roses record: I found that by complete accident. I was just browsing through a stack of records and happened to stumble upon it. When I saw it was special edition, I purchased it without even thinking twice about it. It’s probably the best pressed piece of vinyl I own too. So Blackberry Smoke seems to do everything right this year. Haha

      Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond April 16, 2015 / 12:14 pm

      Hey Derek could she run Carrie Underwood out of the water.

      Like

      • Derek Hudgin April 16, 2015 / 12:33 pm

        No. In a just world, Carrie, Sunny, Brandy Clark, Kellie Pickler, Miranda, Kacey would all be fighting for the top female vocalist awards. The female category at award shows should be, and could be, just as competitive as males and entertainers.

        Sunny is much more pure Country than Carrie, but I think they’re both great vocalists.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Cobra April 16, 2015 / 11:32 am

    Vinyl is great to listen on. I only make certain , purchases on vinyl. I have Jason Isbell’s “Southeastern” and Lee Ann Womack’s “The Way I’m Livin'” as well as Eric Church’s “The Outsiders” (yes).

    I also have a back collection of some older vinyls: a lot of John Denver and REO Speedwagon, among some others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott April 16, 2015 / 12:16 pm

      It’s amazing how many older records have been reprinted. I couldn’t believe I saw the soundtrack for the Ghostbusters in vinyl a couple weeks ago.

      I hope to get Jason Isbell’s Southeastern when I see him in concert next month. I might have to get Lee Ann’s too. Hey if you like Church that’s great. He really seems to appreciate vinyl and gives more attention to it than many mainstream country artists. I heard his live vinyl album he released last year on Record Store Day was quite good.

      Like

      • Cobra April 16, 2015 / 1:47 pm

        When I talk about old John Denver and REO Speedwagon, I have original vinyls, not reprints. They’re older and well worn, but in good shape.

        I’m also seeing Isbell next month. Should be a great show.

        Like

  3. Raymond April 16, 2015 / 11:46 am

    Eh this hodgepodge Ok I guess no offense.

    Don’t expect a lot out of Brett’s new song to be that good it looks real cookie cutter which I guess is the new good.

    I miss Sunny Sweeney she was one of my favorites but it made sense of why she was dropped her sophomore single was one of the casualties in what I like to call a chart clog. It’s happening soon I think Mickey Guyton Gloriana Josh Turner songs could end up like that and leave soon. It happens every year last year Danielle Bradberry and Cassadee Pope Gloriana (heh they always get bad timing) Love & Theft Easton Corbin and Jon Pardi. Literally last summer David Nail was like the only one to break out of that group.

    Ultimately I wouldn’t mind if Kelsea Sunny Danielle Cassadee Ashley Monroe Mickey Jana Kramer Kacey if all of them would’ve been able to break into mainstream. Not Raelynn or Haley Georgia I draw the line there. Btw Josh please tell me you took my advice and avoided the Haley Georgia song.

    Thomas Rhett fans are morons so it doesn’t really matter

    Like

  4. bob April 16, 2015 / 11:51 am

    I prefer digital and I grew up listening to vinyl, initially buying 45 rpm singles (about 7″ diameter) and then albums on LP’s. For any readers unfamiliar with the 33 1/3 rpm LP’s, the diameter of the vinyl discs measured about 12″. The disc was placed in a paper protective sleeve before being packaged in a cardboard jacket which was approximately 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″. If you didn’t already know, you can see why the cd with its diameter of about 5″ is known as a “compact” disc. I don’t miss tapes at all, 8-track or cassette.

    My parents had 78 rpm records. Many of the albums were somewhat like a photo album. You opened it up and there was maybe 8 sleeves, each holding a single record which had one song on each side. You played the song, flipped it over to play the other side, then replaced it in its sleeve and took out another. If it slipped from your hand, it usually broke. The records were much more rigid than the LP’s and very fragile. Some of the artists I remember in our collection included Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, the Mills Brothers, Perry Como, Al Jolson, Gene Autry and the Ink Spots plus some classical stuff that I didn’t care for.

    btw – i also collected baseball cards back in the 50’s. Wish I still had them. Some would be worth quite a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott April 16, 2015 / 12:27 pm

      I haven’t came across any 45 rpm singles, although I think some artists sell them at concerts nowadays. The 33 rpm LPs is what I buy and mainly sold today amongst vinyl. The packaging is the same as you mentioned, except the bigger artists use cardboard sleeves instead of paper sleeves, usually containing some story about the album on the outside or lyrics to the songs. Both of Sturgill’s albums came in paper sleeves though.

      I’ve heard about 78’s from my parents and grandparents. That’s a pretty old school collection of artists right there.

      Yes those cards from the 50s are worth quite a bit today. It took several decades for them to gain value too, much like my 90s cards will have to sit around and do for the next 50 years. Hopefully I don’t lose mine like yours, although I feel like that’s what will probably happen. They’re easy to forget about. Haha

      Like

  5. Josh Schott April 16, 2015 / 12:42 pm

    Just announced today: Jason Isbell’s new album will be coming out on July 17 and it will be called Something More Than Free. That is also the same day Alan Jackson’s new album comes out. In addition this makes Isbell’s new album another one of the first country albums to come out on the new Friday release day. Needless to say that’s going to be an awesome day for country fans.

    Like

    • Raymond April 16, 2015 / 12:57 pm

      Except for people my age. When I ask them and even some who know country music go who to Alan Jackson. It’s pretty ugly seeing that.

      Thanks Josh a ton for the throwback singer if it were up to me this year for ACM Female vocalist I’d have a four way split between Carrie Sunny Brandy & Ashley Monroe they all equally deserve it. I wish you guys could’ve early on could’ve done for past pulse covered Sunny’s one time in the Top 30. Check out For The Country Records drinking game. If you participate you will be hammered in 30 minutes guaranteed.

      Like

  6. Fat Freddy's Cat April 16, 2015 / 12:51 pm

    I’m moving into old fart-dom so I grew up on vinyl. But I confess the big draw for me is simply the quality of the cover art. I’ve never owned a turntable that was remotely audiophile quality. I keep telling myself that I’m going to get at least a halfway decent turntable to replace the battered relic I have now but just never find the money for it. Then too my stereo is a ridiculous Frankenstein of mismatched components so getting too serious about the turntable would be a waste.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rick April 16, 2015 / 1:52 pm

    Hey Derek/Josh, I was just wondering how you guys felt about Eric Church and his music? Anyone feel free to chime in with your thoughts.

    Like

    • Josh Schott April 16, 2015 / 4:20 pm

      Well I have mixed feelings on Eric Church and his music. When it comes to Church himself, I can’t stand him when he gets egotistical and bullshit-y. For example, when he told Rolling Stones in an interview that he basically invented songs about beer and this recent movement of drinking in country songs. But I like him when he’s calling out scalpers or being honest. I also appreciate the fact that he picks awesome supporting acts for his tour such as Dwight Yoakam, Brandy Clark, Brothers Osborne and The Lone Bellow. That’s pretty cool.

      His music is very hit and miss with me. I didn’t like his recent album that much with the exception of “Talladega” and “Cold One.” I enjoyed his Chief album and the Carolina album though. When it comes down to it Church does more good than bad, but the bad can make it hard to like him sometimes.

      Like

    • Derek Hudgin April 17, 2015 / 9:43 am

      I don’t mind Eric Church for the most part. There’s a few songs (“Wrecking Ball”, “Creepin”, “The Outsiders” to name a few) that I really don’t like. But for the most part he takes a bit more liberty with his music (even if it is a faux Outlaw/rebel, label driven persona). Some of his songs like “Lightning” (my favorite Church song) “Springsteen” “Talladega” or even “Hell on the Heart” are pretty good, in my opinion.

      He comes off egotistical and I think his music persona is rather BS, but he has good moments and some good song cuts.

      Like

  8. Pete Marshall April 16, 2015 / 9:28 pm

    I heard Crash & Burn by Thomas Rhett I heard 30 seconds on the song and I want to use the song as a shooting target. 0/10

    Like

  9. Zack April 18, 2015 / 3:07 pm

    Really sorry for getting to this so late, but I too love vinyl. I was able to borrow a ton of records from my mother (who is a classic rock/southern rock fan) and my grandpa (Who is a straight up country fan) and was able to get a good collection. Here’s mine

    – Sturgill Simpson: Metamodern Sounds In Country Music
    – Eric Church: Sinners Like Me
    – Eric Church: The Outsiders
    – Dierks Bentley: Up On The Ridge
    – Johnny Cash: Live At Folsom Prison
    – Glen Campbell: Greatest Hits
    – The Eagles: Hotel California
    – Fleetwood Mac: Rumors
    – The Charlie Daniels Band: A Decade Of Hits
    – The Charlie Daniels Band: Windows
    – Steve Miller Band: Greatest Hits

    Plus many more, I love vinyl 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott April 18, 2015 / 3:16 pm

      Hey no problem! A combination of a country collection and a rock collection sounds pretty darn good to me. I have the Sturgill album and Dierks’ too. I’m surprised Dierks didn’t release Riser in vinyl because I would have definitely bought it. I definitely want to get Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors album and Hotel California too. Two great classic rock albums. As I said above though I’m trying to cut back how fast I get it because it’s addicting. I already have Wade Bowen & Randy Rogers’ album in vinyl coming and I’ll probably get Zac Brown Band’s new album in vinyl too.

      Like

  10. Ben July 31, 2015 / 7:25 pm

    Keep in mind that virtually all modern releases on vinyl are actually digital files cut into vinyl. As far as the sound quality thing goes, that kind of defeats the purpose. To make true comparison, compare an older country record from before any digital recording was available against the cd/mp3/stream of the same album. Also you really need a turntable upwards of $3,000 to get the magic out of the grooves. It’s for these reasons that I personally feel high resolution digital is actually the way to go, but that’s for another time..

    Like

    • Josh Schott July 31, 2015 / 8:27 pm

      Eh whatever. I’m not an audio snob.

      Like

Comments are closed.