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On the Record: Nit Nats Music

Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Welcome back to On The Record
A series about North Carolina Record Stores
 

In a world that grows more digital by the second, record stores remain vital community hubs for people interested in connecting in-person with fellow music-lovers. In college towns, cities large and small and creative downtowns across North Carolina, record stores offer space to talk music with fellow aficionados, engage physically with the media, and spend time “treasure hunting” for that forgotten gem in the used bin. We’ve invited record stores across the state to share their stories throughout the Come Hear North Carolina campaign. For the next installment in the series, we welcome William Harris, the owner of Nit Nats Music in Henderson, North Carolina.

 

What is the name of your store and where are you based? 

Nits Nats Music. 1680 Parham St., Henderson, N.C.

How long have you been in operation?

50 Years

Tell us a bit about your store. What is its mission and why is the community you serve a good place for your business?

Chery Hawkins, the original owner, opened the store in Oxford in 1969. By 1970, Nits Nats had a Henderson location as well. The Henderson store was more successful and the business stayed in Henderson while Cheryl and her husband, Phillip, owned it. I had been a customer since 1977 and when they decided to retire in 2015 they suggested I buy the store. I did and after a few months we moved the store to Louisburg. We stayed there for nine months and then returned to Henderson where we've been since. We try to provide a little of everything to our customers in terms of music. You'll find everything from the Sensational Nightingales to Frank Zappa. We sell new and used CDs, vinyl, dvds, books and more. Henderson and the four county area of Vance, Franklin, Warren and Granville don't have any other record stores in the area so we fill a need. Additionally, I feel Nits Nats Music gives the City of Henderson a bit of character. Small towns need small local businesses to remain vital. Nits Nats Music is, I hope, part of that vitality.

 

Tell us about your customers. Who is buying records? How has that changed over time? What do you think is driving the vinyl resurgence?

It used to be that the hard core crate diggers were buying vinyl. The original owners had gotten away from buying vinyl. Once I took over, I had fond memories of John Swain and the legendary Record Hole in Raleigh. I loved digging for records there and I decided to bring used vinyl back to Nits Nats. Slowly, over the last several years, more and more people came looking for vinyl. While I still have the hard core crate diggers that must know every copy of every record I have, I now see a lot of teenagers who are exploring vinyl for the first time. Sometimes they come in with mom and dad and sometimes on their own or with friends. I still have an older clientele that are looking for classic R&B, gospel and southern soul. They, usually but not always, opt for CDs while the younger customers who look for Led Zeppelin or The Beatles tend to be looking for vinyl. I think what's driving the return to vinyl is that the younger generation is looking for an authentic musical experience that cannot be obtained with a download or listening to a playlist on your phone. I won't say vinyl is better than CD but it's just different. Either format is certainly far superior than what you are going to hear off of your phone from a streaming service.

How people consume, and access music has changed dramatically in the last decade. What do record stores offer in this ever-growing digital/streaming music landscape?

Not only does purchasing physical copies support small business and the artists and producers, a record store presents the authentic shopping experience. Most, if not all, are staffed by people who love music. You aren't going to become rich working at or owning a record store so most do it because they love it. Reading a review on Amazon isn't the same from getting a human response from the person behind the counter. Record stores are a place to meet those with similar interests. It's more than just buying the latest Twenty One Pilots album. It's also about interaction and atmosphere.

Thank you so much for participating in our giveaway, please tell us which record you are sharing and why you picked it.

Beggars' Caravan - Take Me With You was released several years ago. Recorded by Ian Schreier at Osceola in Raleigh and mastered by Brent Lambert at the Kitchen in Carrboro, Beggar's Caravan mix solid songwriting with instrumentation that is just as solid. It's a rather straight forward rock album with a touch of pop that deserved more attention upon its release.

Where can people find you online?

Nits Nats-Music is our Facebook handle. I am afraid we aren't much in the way tweeting or using Instagram.

 

Essential North Carolina albums according to Nit Nats Music

Mandolin Orange - Tides of a Teardrop

John Coltrane - A Love Supreme

Nantucket - Nantucket

North Carolina's Poet Laureate Shares Her Favorite Songs to Celebrate National Poetry Month

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

In celebration of National Poetry Month, North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green made a playlist of some of her favorite songs. Find her liner notes - and a link to the Spotify playlist below!

"Salt" by Lizz Wright - This song's earthiness and the lyrics are a daily mantra reminding me that I am the curator of my life.

"Wade in the Water" sung by Lois DeLoatch- This classic song transports me back to my earliest roots in Southern Black churches. The strength of those wooden pews held the sorrows, fears, hopes, prayers, and testimonies of elders. I am reminded when Lois sings in her southern cadence how deeply affected I am by these timeless hymnals.

"Herman's Mambo" by Lou Donaldson - This tune carries the rhythms of Cuba so eloquently, inviting me to dance.

"Four Women" by Nina Simone - This is one of the first songs I ever choreographed to dance. The song was very instructive to my teenage-self wrestling with all the challenges of self-identifies that occupied space in the psyche.

"The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by Roberta Flack is a song I whispered into my baby Imani's ears. The song was as hauntingly beautiful as my first born... the life that I was chosen to birth. Hearing it continues to flood my heart.  

"Resilient" by Rising Appalachia - A song for our hopes, prayers, and activism. It reminds us to stay vibrantly resilient in our bodies, spirits, and minds as we face the woes of our humanity. This song is prayer, grace, and benediction for me.

"A Love Supreme" by John Coltrane - This song has been my constant companion for years guiding me creatively through long self-imposed writing marathons.

"Collard Greens and Cornbread" by Fantasia Barrino - A sweet nod and homage to unconditional love, iconic southern food, and all the stories that belong to food that feeds the soul and the heart.

"So In Love" by Anthony Hamilton and Jill Scott - My serious jam. Saturday morning house cleaning music. This song provides an invigorating energy as I dance through my chores. It makes me smile about love!

"It's Only a Paper Moon" by Nneena Freelon - It Stretches me into "art making mode." The lyrics for me are all about the poetry of all things.  

"Spanish Harlem" by Ben E. King - This was my favorite song to practice the Cha Cha Cha to as a kid. It remains one of my favorite songs sung by the King himself.

"A Lover's Question," "Little Bitty Pretty One," and "Lover Please" by Clyde McPhatter - These were favorite songs played in our home. l have tender memories of dancing around our living room to Little Bitty Pretty Oneand sitting listening in the kitchen to these tunes over lazy Saturday breakfasts. My parents often went to see Clyde McPhatter performing his shows whenever he returned to Durham. 

On The Record: Nice Price Books & Records

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Welcome back to On The Record
A series about North Carolina Record Stores
 

In a world that grows more digital by the second, record stores remain vital community hubs for people interested in connecting in-person with fellow music-lovers. In college towns, cities large and small and creative downtowns across North Carolina, record stores offer space to talk music with fellow aficionados, engage physically with the media, and spend time “treasure hunting” for that forgotten gem in the used bin. We’ve invited record stores across the state to share their stories throughout the Come Hear North Carolina campaign. For the second installment in the series, we welcome Enoch from Nice Price Books & Records in Raleigh.

 

What is the name of your store and where are you based?

Nice Price Books & Records + Nice Price Jr, both based in Raleigh.

How long have you been in operation?

Originally opened in 1992, we have owned for 5 years.

Tell us a bit about your store. What is its mission and why is the community you serve a good place for your business?

We want to have as many interesting and odd and informative things as we can to serve the interesting and odd and informative people that surround us here in North Carolina.

Tell us about your customers. Who is buying records? How has that changed over time? What do you think is driving the vinyl resurgence?

All sorts of people are buying records. The ‘never stopped buying’ crowd, the ‘never owned a CD so vinyl is the only format they purchase’ crowd and the 'holy crap they re-pressed all my favorite albums' crowd. As people become more and more disconnected from their community with work and the internet some people seek out a more tactile experience and interaction. We try and be there for that.

How people consume, and access music has changed dramatically in the last decade. What do record stores offer in this ever-growing digital/streaming music landscape?

Conversation. Actually caring [about] what you like and might like. The internet does lots of great things, but it doesn't say "oh man I love this record too!" when you pick it up

Thank you so much for participating in our giveaway, please tell us which record you are sharing and why you picked it.

Future Islands - On the Water. Recorded by Eastern North Carolina natives, many of the songs deal with the issue of being from and loving somewhere [while] also having to leave that place. In this particular case, [that’s] Eastern North Carolina.

Where can people find you online?

Website: www.nicepricebooksandrecords.com/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/nicepricebooks

Twitter: @NicePriceBooks

Instagram: @NicePriceBooks , @NicePriceBooksJr , @TheNicePricePodcast

Essential North Carolina albums according to Nice Price Books & Records

Future Islands - On the Water

Betty Davis - They Say I'm Different

Randy Travis - Old 8x10

Listen Local: N.C. Music Hall of Fame

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The North Carolina Music Hall of Fame (NCMHOF) is dedicated to honoring the musicians, composers and artists who have made significant contributions to our state and country's music. Inductees must have a birth or deep connection to North Carolina.

NCMHOF began inducting members in 1999 and opened an actual museum in 2009 after partnering with the Curb Family Foundation, a philanthropic arm of music and race car entrepreneur Mike Curb.

The museum contains a diverse collection of artifacts, memorabilia and mementos from the private collections of inductees, like Nina Simone, Ben Folds, and the Avett Brothers, and a robust series of exhibits that celebrate historic and current musicians from many genres.

Today the Kannapolis-based museum shares space with a race car museum also supported by the Curb Family Foundation.

Step into the world of the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame

WUNC Music Presents: Come Hear NC on the Songs We Love Podcast

Thursday, February 14, 2019

WUNC Music launches a new series this week that explores North Carolina music one song at a time called Come Hear NC on the Songs We Love podcast. All year they are asking people from the music community to come and talk about a song that they think says something about our home state. North Carolina is home to ground breaking artists spanning gospel to indie rock, old time to metal, country to hip hop, beach music to jazz. They will bring in musicians, writers and club owners to talk about the songs they love. You may be surprised by some of their choices.

The series launches with episode zero out on Valentine’s Day. There are new episodes of the podcast every Saturday. WUNC will also be broadcasting a radio version of the series every Saturday at 5:34 PM (during All Things Considered) and Sunday at 9:34 AM (during Weekend Edition).

Come Hear NC on the Songs We Love Podcast is hosted by WUNC’s Eric Hodge.  It’s produced in cooperation with Come Hear North Carolina, an effort lead by the North Carolina Arts Council and the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources to celebrate the breadth of North Carolina Music.

 

Listen Local: The Lincoln Theatre Feat. American Aquarium

Monday, February 11, 2019

Listen Local is a video series profiling unique venues and places where music is made, performed and celebrated in North Carolina. We kick-off the series with a story about American Aquarium's annual Roadtrip to Raleigh show at The Lincoln Theatre. Frontman B.J. Barham created the alt-country band in Raleigh in the early 2000s. Growing nationwide acclaim keeps them on the road for much of the year, which is why the band established an annual hometown show that highlights Raleigh's thriving creative community and devotion to local music

The Lincoln Theatre, an 800-person venue housed in a building that was once an African American movie theatre in segregation era Raleigh, hosts the homecoming show every year. In addition to supporting the indie-rock market, The Lincoln Theatre regularly presents hip-hop, heavy metal and country performances. The owners of The Lincoln recently opened a sister club in Greenville, N.C. called The State Theatre.

On The Record: Schoolkids

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Introducing "On The Record," a series on North Carolina record stores. 

In a world that grows more digital by the second, record stores remain vital community hubs for people interested in connecting in-person with fellow music-lovers. In college towns, cities large and small and creative downtowns across North Carolina, record stores offer space to talk music with fellow aficionados, engage physically with the media, and spend time “treasure hunting” for that forgotten gem in the used bin. We’ve invited record stores across the state to share their stories throughout the Come Hear North Carolina campaign. First up in our Q&A series: Stephen H Judge, the owner of Schoolkids Records, the longest running independent record store in the state.

What is the name of your store and where are you based?

Schoolkids Records, Chapel Hill and Raleigh

How long have you been in operation?

44 years. We did close [our] Chapel Hill [location] for seven years.

Tell us about your store. What is its mission and why is the community you serve a good place for your business?

We are the longest running independent record store in North Carolina and one of the oldest in the United States. Chapel Hill is a great college town and community. It has a vast diversity of cultures (both domestic and international) and has been considered one of the 'best places to live' in the United States for over 25 years now. Having the University of North Carolina just a few blocks away and an incredible music history for such a small town, it makes it an ideal location. The number of 'famous' musicians that have walked through our doors and even worked at the shop over the years is too many to name. R.E.M.'s original manager worked at Schoolkids when he first discovered the Athens, G.A. legends. There is a strong connection with the local community and [with] bands from all over the world. It’s a staple of the community and I am proud that after seven years away I was able to bring the store back to town. It means a lot to me personally. We also have our own label and have a European office in Dublin, Ireland.

Essential North Carolina albums according to Schoolkids Records:

Superchunk - No Pocky For Kitty

Whiskeytown - Strangers Almanac

The Connells - Boylan Heights

Archers of Loaf - Icky Mettle

Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw

6 String Drag - High Hat

Tell us about your customers. Who is buying records? How has that changed over time? What do you think is driving the vinyl resurgence?

This has changed dramatically, it used to be heavily dominated by college students, mostly from UNC. Now it’s more 30+ somethings, local music community lovers, and a new era of younger vinyl crazy millennials. We also do a tremendous amount of business online, all over the world (Australia, Germany, UK, France, Ireland, etc.) so it’s very diverse. We love the vinyl resurgence, it’s amazing.

How people consume and access music has changed dramatically in the last decade. What do record stores offer in this ever-growing streaming music landscape?

In our Raleigh location we have a bar, and a stage. It’s just a 'hang out' [place] where people listen and talk about music. It’s a community, and people trade ideas and stories of the history of music and turn each other onto old and new things. You cannot get that online. It’s a different experience, one on one relationships. We do embrace the digital age as well. We have our own label and also offer streaming of music in the store to sample music they may potentially buy with our 'listening posts/iPads' on the wall.

We are so happy you’re participating in our giveaway! Tell us which record you are sharing and why you picked it.

6 String Drag's High Hat is a classic Americana album. Back in the early 90's when post-punk bands were breaking-up, many were starting country bands [like] Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown, The Backsliders, Trailer Bride, etc. This album stood out as a classic amongst many classics from our area. Steve Earle originally released it on his own label and [he] performs on the album. I reissued it on my label this past year.

What are your social media handles?

Website: www.schoolkidsrecords.com;

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SchoolkidsRecords and www.facebook.com/SchoolkidsRecordsChapelHill;

Twitter: @schoolkids 

Instagram: @SchoolkidsRecords

A Saturday Morning Tradition: The WPAQ Merry-Go-Round

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Every Saturday, Mt. Airy's community radio station WPAQ broadcasts live, local, and regional music on the Merry-Go-Round, one of the longest running live radio programs in America.

The mountains and foothills of North Carolina are known internationally as places rich in traditional old-time music, stringband music, ballad singing and bluegrass, and ways to experience authentic music flourish throughout the region. From hometown opry’s and informal jam sessions to concert stages, festivals and old-time music conventions, visitors can enjoy traditional music and dance in friendly, informal settings, some dating back almost a century. The North Carolina Arts Council developed the Blue Ridge Music Trails to encourage travelers to explore the regions incredible music experiences.

An important focus of Blue Ridge Music traditions is the town of Mt. Airy, the hometown of Andy Griffith (and inspiration for his famous Mayberry). Nestled in the foothills of the mountains, the  town is home to the second longest currently running live radio program in the nation: WPAQ’s Merry-Go-Round. Every Saturday WPAQ presents live, local and regional music on the Merry-Go-Round, a live radio broadcast staged in The Earle, a vintage movie theater in the heart of Mt. Airy. The podcast Down The Road, a production of the Blue Ridge Music Trails by the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, explores the history of  WPAQ’s Merry-Go-Round in this episode.

Listeners from around the world can tune into WPAQ's Merry-Go-Round broadcast on Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. here.

 

 

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