Setting the records straight
Through the medium-compromising onslaught of the modern music-trading craze, three local record stores have kept their doors open to a public that still prefers its albums packaged and tangible.Edwards’ B-Side Music, Avon’s Mojo Music and Vail’s Eagle Valley Music Co. have each built impressive ranges of music to serve the tastes of even the most eclectic and obscure music collectors in the valley.Mojo MusicBoasting the widest variety of products, Mojo Music sells everything from cowhide-patterned CD cases to guitars.Owner Jeff Sadler bought the store from Richard Carnes in 1998, and changed its name from “Poor Richard’s.””It’s a low-stress job that seemed to have good opportunities for the future, and it’s my passion, listening to music and feeling its groove, its vibe,” said Sadler.The store was established in 1989, and Sadler’s major changes include a section for hemp and tie-dyed clothing, tapestries, incense and “system-cleansing” products. Mojo Music is also one of the largest retail DVD providers in the valley.”I started selling DVDs in 2000, and we’ve completely gotten rid of all VHS since,” said Sadler. “We now have pretty much the best selection as far as anyone in the valley with new DVDs. Wal-Mart has more DVDs, but less titles.”Mojo Music has the broadest selection of hip-hop, electronica and trance and used CDs.”(Working in a record store) you get the freedom to be pretty much your own boss. You don’t have the set duties where you have to perform the same thing every day, you get a ski pass and the boss is really cool,” said Tom Heriot. “It’s definitely one of the best stores I’ve worked at because most people that come to buy music are happy and laid back. It’s 1 one percent assholes.”Eagle Valley Music Co.It’s not a large space to have a retail store, but Eagle Valley Music Co. makes use of what it has.Reminiscent of a writer’s personal library and the baseball cards stores of my youth, Eagle Valley Music Co. celebrated its 20th anniversary this past Halloween.Nearly one quarter of the store is devoted to movie rentals.”We’re hanging on. We haven’t gotten back to where we were before 9/11, but this is needed in Vail,” said Jeannie Robbins, who runs the store with her son, Tom Robbins. “There are lots of vacationers who don’t come with a car and Blockbuster is a long haul on foot. So, we’re trying to stay open. They need movies and they need music.”The albums in the store are bound together by rubber bands (by artist) and stuffed in cardboard boxes, which are stacked as many as three or four times. This can make for quite a bit of searching but some pleasant surprises along the way.Eagle Valley Music Co. has the best selection of reggae, jazz, blues and an enormous stock of box sets.”Universal (the largest record label) has begun to lower its prices dropping stuff like (Bob) Marley and Sublime from $18.99 to $12.99,” said Jeannie Robbins. “Now, if the other labels follow suit, albums will become more affordable.”B-Side MusicB-Side Music’s owner Denise Sturdivant has been in the business for the shortest amount of time compared to the other two stores.B-Side Music has Sturdivant and husband Mitch’s college posters collaged all over the ceiling of the store, and the half sunset-glow orange and half turquoise walls lend a bright, vintage feel to store.Sturdivant’s 14-month-old daughter, Torri, can usually be found dancing, singing and offering customers her favorite reachable CDs.”She’s a real music person. She’s starting to dance and sing, and that makes it really fun to give her the gift of music,” said Sturdivant.Sturdivant lists Eric Clapton, Santana, North Mississippi All-Stars and Willie Nelson among her favorite artists.”As an owner of a record store, I like to see what’s ahead, coming out. I like to read all the gossip – the who, what, when, where on the music scene,” said Sturdivant. “I’d like to say I get to listen to music all day, but that gets kind of monotonous sometimes. But, one of the greatest perks is all of the different people I get to meet who have similar interests.”B-Side recently moved to a new location, next to Freshies and across the street from Starbucks. The store has the best selection of vinyl records, CDs for $3 and less and magazines.”We need to start supporting the artists more,” Sturdivant said.We also need to keep supporting our local record stores.Andrew Harley can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 610, or at email@example.com.