Vinyl still spins its magic in Rutland


MOUNTAIN MUSIC ON Center Street in Rutland is a vinyl lover’s paradise. Photo by Susan Johnson

RUTLAND—A few taps on a smart phone can play our choice of music in your headphones, car, or home. These days, on-demand audio streaming is by far the most popular way to get tunes. Yet vinyl is alive and well, and nothing else compares. 

The needle (stylus) descends on a record album, and after a few comforting crackles your music begins, warmer and more life-like than any digital format. Sure, one has to get up (or stop dancing) and turn it over. We all need to move around more anyway.

Most of us of a certain age fondly remember afternoons spent flipping through albums in the local record store. As a teen, I worked at Harmony Hut, a now-defunct Baltimore-Washington area chain. With a poster of Juice Newton’s debut album behind me at the cash register, people would swear they were transacting with the artist herself, as apparently there was a strong resemblance between us. While not a Juice fan, I loved records and still do, having lugged around heavy particle-board boxes full of records for 40 years.

Neighborhood record stores took a hit when CDs entered the market in the early 1980s, and big-box stores (ick) took up the slack, at least for major labels and popular music. However, vinyl albums have been slowly but steadily coming back since the late 2000s, and independent record stores have made a comeback along with them. Last year alone, while both digital and CD album sales declined, vinyl album sales were on the rise.

MESHACH TOURIGNY OF Mountain Music. “Re- cords are collectible and they sound good,” he says. Photo by Susan Johnson

There are several reasons for this resurgence, according to Meshach Tourigny, owner of Mountain Music on Center Street in Rutland. “Records are collectible, and they sound good,” he said as the bittersweet sound of Tom Petty, who passed in 2017, covering “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” played. “It’s a tactile listening experience unlike the digital formats.”

The pandemic fueled the trend, as people sat at home with more time on their hands, Tourigny noted. And it’s not just us “mature” people driving the trend. Gen Z (born 1997 – 2012) music listeners are 27% more likely to purchase vinyl records than the average listener. Along with Millennials, they will continue to drive the trend. Perhaps younger people seek the comfort of the hands-on experience as the world seems uncertain and we increasingly live our lives online. 

Mountain Music, in business for a decade, sells used and new vinyl. “Old stuff is being re-pressed,” Tourigny continued. “You can get everything on vinyl now.” The store has also has a good selection of vintage audio equipment, in addition to jewelry (made by Tourigny), clothing, and CDs.

“We’re really happy when new people are getting into the hobby and are happy to help them get started with equipment and records,” Tourigny said. “We have dollar bins full of records and audiophile pressings for $150—there’s something for everybody.”

Record Store Day, a national event celebrating independent record stores, will be coming up in April and again on Black Friday after Thanksgiving. New records, limited editions, represses are released that day, according to Tourigny.

Whether you’re new to vinyl and like the novelty or you’re a seasoned owner and nostalgic, the trend continues. “It’s a tangible thing that people are realizing that they miss,” Tourigny mused. So, go spin some vinyl. Just remember, wired speakers sound better than wireless. But that’s for another day.

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