According to Nielsen Soundscan, a company that tracks the sale of music in the US, vinyl sales are up by 35% over the same time last year; nearly two million vinyl albums have sold so far in 2013. Nielsen says their data shows that vinyl sales started climbing in 2007 and have kept on going ever since. Interesting considering music hasn’t been released solely on vinyl albums for decades... This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the resurgence of records and record stores and will talk about what makes old-fashioned records so appealing in an era largely defined by digital culture.
Coming up next week on Focus, we’ll talk about cycling and how strong biking communities and cultures are fostered, why records are coming back and if they’ll stick around. We’ll also talk about nanotechnology and the exciting possibilities for the future.
In the 1930s and 1940s, the Library of Congress commissioned audio recordings of amateur singers and songwriters throughout the United States. These have come to be called "field recordings," and the recordists travelled the country in search of them. Musician, recording artist, and writer Stephen Wade tells the story of thirteen of these recordings made across the United States between 1934 and 1942 in locations reaching from Southern Appalachia to the Mississippi Delta and the Great Plains. Working 18 years on this project, Wade travelled the country, seeking out the original artists, their families or friends present at the recordings and interviewed more than 200 people for the book. Most of the original artists were amateur singers or musicians who were being recorded for the first and only time; many of their famililes were not even aware that the recordings were made. And yet many of the songs have enjoyed long afterlives, influencing musicians and featuring in films.
Stephen Wade is a musician and writer whose latest album is Banjo Diary: Lessons from Tradition, out on Smithsonian Folkways Records.
Terry Teachout, Drama Critic of The Wall Street Journal
Host: David Inge
This is a repeat broadcast from Thursday, December 17, 2009, 10 am
Gabriel Solis, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair of Musicology Division, School of Music, University of Illinois
Host: David Inge
This is a repeat broadcast from Monday, January 25, 2008, 10 am
With Ronny Cox (Musician; Actor)
With William M. Adler (Writer)
With Simon Reynolds (Music Critic)
With Colin Grant (Historian and Producer for the BBC; Associate Fellow in the Centre for Caribbean Studies)
With Dave Winfield (Executive with the San Diego Padres; Athlete, formerly with the New York Yankees, and five other teams; Member of the Baseball Hall of Fame; Writer; Host and Narrator of "The Baseball Music Project", Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 11/12 7:30 PM), and , and Scott Schwartz, Ph.D. (Archivist for Music and Fine Arts and Associate Professor, University Library, University of Illinois)