After two years of adapting to the pandemic, pivoting to smaller, more frequent (and often online and contactless) “drops” instead of one central holiday, Record Store Day returns this Saturday, April 23 to its traditional timeframe and with some sense of normalcy, just in time for its 15th anniversary! What started as an annual celebration of all things vinyl, marked largely by niche indie releases and celebrating independent stores, RSD has ballooned over the years to become a cultural phenomenon, now bringing a massive number of new, collectible, and limited-edition releases and reissues from artists small and large, and prompting tons of festivities at independent record stores across the nation. For its big anniversary, RSD has also tapped its biggest Global Ambassador yet in Nashville-linked popstar Taylor Swift, who’s dropping a special 7″ of her own for the occasion.
Being the music-obsessed city that we are, Nashville has historically gone all out every year, and though this year does feel a little scaled-back in some respects (we are still in a pandemic after all), it still feels more like a regular Record Store Day than we’ve had in a long time, with events planned at virtually every independent shop in town. To help you keep track, we’ve put together this annual guide, detailing all the stores, sales, performances, events, and releases you should be privy to in order to help navigate RSD. In a sign that things aren’t quite business as usual just yet though, a second Record Store Day (more akin to recent years’ “drops”) has already been plotted for June 18, where some of the planned releases that stalled this time around will arrive, as vinyl production still grapples with supply chain issues and meeting demand.
As we pointed out back in 2019, this holiday has felt a bit more bittersweet in recent times, as there’s a noticeable drop in shops from just a few years ago. Fond Object, The Vinyl Bunker, and Atomic all shuttered a while back, and more recently we lost Boulevard Records and New Life Record Shop, with news that downtown institution Ernest Tubb Record Shop will soon be closing as well. We hope that serves as a sobering reminder that even in a music-loving city such as this, at a time when vinyl is seeing a massive resurgence, local record stores are still small businesses, and in town becoming increasingly more expensive and inaccessible to navigate, it’s more important than ever to support them as much as you can, all year long, even after the RSD fun ends.
Read on for the full Record Store Day rundown, and start planning your day!
Famed local record store Grimey’s only got to celebrate one full-scale Record Store Day in their new shop, which they relocated to in late 2018, before the pandemic, but as RSD pivoted to smaller, more frequent “drops” these past few years, they’ve been a leader in Covid safety, and in contactless and online sales. For their in-person RSD return, the shop is trying out something new, adding a special Record Store Day line where patrons will be presented with a “menu” of available releases and asked to write down their picks, which will be fetched and rung up by employees; in other words, we’d expect a slower moving line, but a smoother experience, which rewards arriving early. You can also arrive a little later and browse the releases once there’s no longer a wait.
WHERE: 1060 East Trinity Lane; RSD exclusives will be available in the rear entrance, across from Anaconda Vintage. Parking is limited.
WHEN: The shop opens at 10 a.m., but expect eager patrons to line up much earlier. Grimey’s asks that you do so in the lawn to the right of the shop.
WHO: No live music has been announced for this year (we hope to see a full-scale Grimey’s RSD celebration in the future, like they regularly hosted at the old shop), but there is a free, official after-party later in the day at Brooklyn Bowl, presented in conjunction with Dogfish Head, where select RSD exclusives will be spinning and Yellowcard’s Ryan Key will present an Emo Night set (unclear if that’s a performance or, more likely, a DJ set).
WHAT: Expect a really comprehensive selection of Record Store Day exclusives and a lot of inventory. In addition, food trucks from Golly G’s and Cabin Attic Burgers will be on site. What you should NOT expect is an appearance from Record Store Day ambassador Taylor Swift, despite her ties with Grimey’s. You can take a selfie with her mural though!
WHY: Though other shops in town have certainly upped their game and might be a tad less crowded while featuring more activities this year, Grimey’s is still arguably the city’s most famous record store, and in our experience has the largest selection of releases available.
The Groove is another East Nashville fixture, and has really upped their Record Store Day game over the years with lots of live music, vendors, and a great selection of exclusive releases. Like Grimey’s, a line tends to form very early, but if your intention is to stick around, eat and drink, and socialize after shopping, their plans for this year are looking like a great hang.
WHERE: 1103 Calvin Ave; RSD releases are typically set up in a special row inside the store, with music outside.
WHEN: The shop opens at 9 a.m., and music begins at 11 a.m.
WHO: Performers include Brassville with special guests, Tim Gent, Leah Blevins, Amanda Broadway Band, Sweettalker, Chrome Pony, The Phantoms of Saturn, Tommy P, and more!
WHAT: Expect a great selection of RSD exclusives and inventory, live music, and vendors like Bad Luck Burger Club, The Mac Shack, The Urban Juicer, and HiFi Cookies, plus a silent auction and more.
WHY: With its proximity to Grimey’s, it’s easy to hit both, but The Groove might be a good bet for folks who want more vendor and entertainment choices, or for the chance of a slightly shorter early line.
Vinyl Tap has been one of our low-key favorite Record Store Day stops for years, as their selection is competitive and their crowds typically a bit more manageable. This year, they seem to be giving every other shop in town a run for their money with a really-expertly curated musical lineup, plus food and vendors and drink specials running all day long!
WHERE: 2038 Greenwood Ave; A table of RSD exclusives will be set up inside, and music will take place across both indoor and outdoor stages.
WHEN: The shop opens at 9 a.m., with other festivities slated to kick off at 11 a.m., with music and DJs shortly thereafter.
WHO: Vinyl Tap has the biggest lineup of the day, with performances from the likes of Joshua Hedley, Gaily Wollup, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Country Westerns, Keeps, Heinous Orca, and more, plus DJ sets from local faves like Tristen!
Here’s the performance schedule:
11:30 a.m. – Lore
12:30 p.m. – Heinous Orca
1:30 p.m. – Keeps
2:30 p.m. – Ron Obasi
3:30 p.m. – Country Westerns
4:30 p.m. – Amanda B*
5:30 p.m. – Total Wife
12:00 p.m. – Steven Dunn
1:00 p.m. – The Ragcoats
2:00 p.m. – Aaron Lee Tasjan
3:00 p.m. – Dylan Smucker
4:00 p.m. – Sean Thompson’s Weird Ears
5:00 p.m. – Gaily Wollup (formerly Nightingail)
6:00 p.m. – Joshua Hedley
WHAT: Vinyl Tap’s RSD festivities have grown so much that they appear to have the biggest celebration of the bunch this year, and certainly the coolest musical lineup. In addition to bands and DJs, expect free morning coffee, beer specials, food trucks from Dreamburger and The Little Weirdo, and vintage and local makers market, and 15% off non-RSD vinyl.
WHY: You could potentially have better luck scoring what you’re looking for without camping out for hours, and the musical lineup is worth checking out whether you care about shopping for RSD exclusives or not! This is probably the best option for locals who want the most laid-back neighborhood hang.
In the past, The Great Escape (with locations in Madison, West Nashville, and Murfreesboro) felt like something of a RSD hack, previously opening as early at 7 a.m., allowing for a chance to snag some releases and still make it to another store by opening. This year, they’re opening their doors an hour later, but that still gives you a chance to shop hop should you so choose. Though better known for their used selection, The Great Escape does carry new RSD exclusives.
WHERE: 105 Gallatin Pike N (Madison Superstore) and 5400 Charlotte Ave (West Nashville).
WHEN: All locations are set to open at 8 a.m.
WHO: No live music appears to be scheduled at any of the area stores.
WHAT: While The Great Escape might not stock quite as many releases as some other shops, our experience is that their selection is still quite good, and usually features the most popular titles. In addition to RSD exclusives, both Nashville area locations are hosting store-wide sales, and giving away up to five free items from their $.99 selection.
WHY: Since they’re better known for comics, toys, games, and used vinyl, The Great Escape might not be on the top of as many folks’ minds when it comes to Record Store Day, which combined with their earlier opening time can make them a less-crowded option. Additionally, they have a lot of cool non-RSD inventory to browse.
For Franklin residents, Luna seems to be the best, most comprehensive experience in town, offering a selection of releases and a shopping experience that rivals any of the Nashville shops. If you’re a Nashville resident, there may not be a need to make the trek instead, though an early opening time and the ability to queue inside The Factory at Franklin as early as 6 a.m., with all of its amenities, does sound appealing. Luna is also the only store who’ve outlined their online plans, which is to make the remaining releases available for purchase on their site by 7 a.m. Sunday.
WHERE: 230 Franklin Rd Ste 12D (inside The Factory at Franklin); Releases will be inside the shop and available to browse in a single-file line.
WHEN: Luna opens at 9 a.m., and The Factory opens at 6 a.m. for those who wish to line up inside. Those who arrive before 6 should line up by the Liberty Hall entrance outside.
WHO: No live music is planned at Luna (but if you’d like to see a show at The Factory, check out BreakFest next month!)
WHAT: Nestled inside The Factory at Franklin, Luna is one of the best-curated record stores around, and they plan to order thousands of RSD exclusives, carrying nearly everything they can. Additionally, used vinyl will be 20% off. And, since it’s in The Factory, there are plenty of coffee, food, and shopping options in the same building.
WHY: Whether you live in Franklin or want to go for more low-key, indoor RSD experience, Luna will have a comparable selection to Grimey’s, The Groove, and Vinyl Tap with likely less of the chaos.
ADDITIONAL RECORD STORES
Third Man Records (623 7th Ave S) – Jack White’s Third Man Records has been one of our favorite stops on Record Store Day, since even though they didn’t carry anything aside from their own releases, they’ve historically had a full slate of performances, activities, and exclusives. Surprisingly, they don’t appear to be doing anything at all this time around though. Fingers crossed Third Man jumps back into the mix for 2023, and it might be worth keeping an eye on the shop’s site and social media this weekend in case they announce anything we missed. Normal hours are 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
McKay Books (636 Old Hickory Blvd) – Mostly known for their used selection, McKay does officially participate in Record Store Day, so they’ll stock some exclusive releases (though we’re unclear on how many). Their RSD event is simply vinyl-focused, with no extra actives planned, but they do also have a massive selection of non-RSD items to peruse as well. McKay opens at 9 a.m.
CD Warehouse (2143 Gallatin Pike N) – Long-running chain CD Warehouse officially participates in Record Store Day, and though it’s unclear exactly how many new offerings they stock, they definitely do carry RSD exclusives, making them another likely to be overlooked option that could prove to be a less-trafficked gem, plus all non-RSD vinyl will also be 10% off. In the past they’ve opened as early as 7 a.m. for the occasion, but with nothing else posted for this year, all we can go by is their typical 10 a.m. opening.
Carpe Diem (212 S Margin St; Franklin) – Franklin’s first record shop Carpe Diem has been a little off our radar in Record Store Days past, but the small but well-curated shop not only has a killer used selection (which will be 10% for the occasion), but also plans to offer a full-slate of RSD exclusives. Shopping begins at 11 a.m. with music and food offered next door at Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor beginning at 1 p.m.
Alison’s Record Shop (994A Davidson Dr.) – West side destination Alison’s Record Shop hasn’t announced any RSD plans, but if past years are any indication, we can assume that they won’t be stocking any new RSD exclusives. They have previously hosted a sale on their non-RSD inventory, however, so it still might be worth a stop if you’re making the rounds. Normal opening hours begin at noon.
Ernest Tubb Record Shop (417 Broadway) – While no plans have been posted yet for this year, country-leaning downtown record store Ernest Tubb does technically officially participate in RSD, though they almost exclusively (and unsurprisingly) order country releases. If that’s all you’re looking for, it would certainly be a unique RSD option, especially since the shop is slated to close for good very soon. Doors open at 10 a.m.
LOCAL RELEASES TO LOOK OUT FOR
There aren’t generally a ton of Record Store Day exclusives from local artists, but this year it’s especially slim pickings. At least RSD ambassador (and still part-time Nashvillian) Taylor Swift is dropping what’s sure to be one of the year’s most sought-after releases:
The Everly Brothers – Hey Doll Baby LP
Kacey Musgraves – star-crossed LP Picture Disc
Steve Earle – “Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother” b/w “Night Rider’s Lament” 7″
Taylor Swift – “The Lakes” b/w “The Lakes (Original Version)” 7″
NATIONAL RELEASES TO LOOK OUT FOR
Record Store Day has, admittedly, morphed into a lot of fluff and obvious cash grabs. While this is far from complete, here’s a list of some interesting national releases from the full list we think might be worthy additions to your vinyl collection; a mix of rarities, overdue re-pressings, first time runs, and more:
Albert Ayler – Revelations: The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings 5xLP
Alice in Chains – We Die Young 12″
Betty Harris – The Lost Queen of New Orleans Soul 2xLP
The Bleeding Hearts – Rags to Riches LP
Blondie – Sunday Girl EP 2×7″
Blur – Bustin’ + Dronin’ 2xLP
Childish Gambino – Kauai LP
Coolio – It Takes A Thief 2xLP
The Cure – Pornography LP Picture Disc
The Damned – Strawberries LP
David Bowie – Brilliant Adventure EP 10″
David Bowie – Toy EP (‘You’ve got it made with all the toys’) 10″
Echo & the Bunnymen – B-Sides and Live (2001 – 2005) 2xLP
Electronic – Remix Mini Album LP
Foo Fighters – “Making A Fire (Mark Ronson Re-Version)” b/w “Chasing Birds (Preservation Hall Jazz Band Re-Version)” 7″
Grateful Dead – Wembley Empire Pool, London, England 4/8/72 (Live) 5xLP
Iggy Pop – Live In Berlin 2xLP
The Jackson 5 – ABC LP
Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Modern Lovers 88 [35th Anniversary] LP
Joni Mitchell – Blue Highlights LP
Mariah Carey – #1’s 2xLP
The Muffs – New Improved Kim Shattuck Demos LP
Patti Smith – Curated By Record Store Day 2xLP
Peter Tosh – Complete Captured Live 2xLP
Pixies – Live at Coachella 2004 2xLP
Ramones – The Sire Albums (1981-1989) 7xLP
The Replacements – Unsuitable for Airplay: The Lost KFAI Concert (Live) 2xLP
Rick Astley – Whenever You Need Somebody LP
Stevie Nicks – Bella Donna 2xLP
Tegan & Sara – Still Jealous LP
U2 – A Celebration (40th Anniversary) 12″
Various Artists – The Royal Tenenbaums (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) 2xLP
Voivod – Angel Rat LP
Willie Nelson – Live At The Texas Opry House, 1974 2xLP