The unmistakable crackle of vinyl records has found new life, blending seamlessly with the historical backdrop of the Catskills.
In recent years, there’s been a growing fascination with analog experiences, driving a resurgence in all things vintage, and vinyl records are at the forefront of this trend. Millennials and Gen Z, despite being digital natives, are among the most passionate collectors, with a desire for tangible experiences in a screen-dominated world.
Vinyl isn’t just about the music; it’s about the experience. Lowering the needle onto the record, the faint static before the music begins, the large, artistic album covers - evoke nostalgia, even for those too young to remember vinyl’s heyday.
Vinyl records, with their characteristic grooves and iconic cover art, have long been emblematic of music culture. Their inception dates back to the late 19th century, with Emile Berliner’s invention of the gramophone record, a flat disc that served as an alternative to Thomas Edison’s cylindrical phonographs. Initially made from shellac, records faced challenges like short play times and fragility. It wasn’t until the 1930s and 40s that the shift to vinyl, or more precisely polyvinyl chloride, became mainstream. The transition was revolutionary; not only were vinyl records more durable, but they also boasted better sound quality.
The 12-inch LP (Long Play) format, introduced by Columbia Records in 1948, became a game changer, allowing multiple tracks on each side and providing a platform for the concept album. Through the decades, despite challenges from cassette tapes, CDs, and digital music, vinyl has endured, even experiencing a significant resurgence in the 21st century. Its longevity is a testament to its unique sound quality and the tactile, immersive experience it offers listeners.
Independent record shops and vinyl lounges and restaurants are sprouting in the region, offering visitors a unique experience that combines the rich cultural tapestry of the Catskills with the vintage charm of vinyl records.
The resurgence of vinyl is more than just a trend, it’s a return to authenticity. Digital music, with its convenience, has taken away the tangibility and ritualistic nature of listening. Vinyl brings that back, and in a place like the Catskills, it reinforces a connection to a time when life was more straightforward and genuine.
Local establishments are combining the vinyl experience with other offerings, like artisanal coffee shops where you can sip a latte while listening to a record, or vintage inns where rooms come equipped with a record player and a selection of classics. Another place, The Print House, 1070 Main Street, Fleischmanns in Delaware County, housed at the former Purple Mountain Press from which the bar derives its name, offers wine, food, cocktails and of course, music. If the doors are open, you can get something to eat. Find them on Instagram or Facebook, or call 845-254-3444. Open weekdays at 4 p.m. and at 1 p.m. on weekends,
If looking to start or add to a vinyl collection, visit:
Delaware County - Sounds Good Catskills at 119 Main Street, Andes, a used record store. www.soundsgoodcatskills.com
Caban Company at The Hobart Exchange, 645 Main Street, Hobart. Find them on Facebook and Instagram.
Ulster County - Everything Nice at 110 Canal Street in Ellenville, selling new and second-hand vinyl and books. Open Friday through Sunday. www.everything-nice.co
Greene County - Spike’s Record Rack, a brick and mortar store at 395 Main Street, Catskill. spikesrecordrack.com 518-618-1311, email@example.com