Day: April 21, 2014

Record Store Day ~ The Rev Charles Way

Founded by Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Carrie Colliton, Amy Dorfman, Don Van Cleave and Brian Poehner in 2007, Record Store Day (RSD) was established as a way to honor the culture of the independently owned record store. It is now celebrated internationally on the third Saturday of April each year. In 2014, that day was April 19th, and what a day it was.

April weather in Michigan is unpredictable at best. Record Store Day 2013 brought us snow. RSD 2014, however, was a gloriously sunny 65oF. Whatever the temperature, RSD is the first day of my favorite season, the festival season. From now through the month of October, the downtown Grand Rapids area is alive with music, art, dance and film. There is inspiration around every corner. I live for this time of year. It got kicked off in fabulous style on Saturday, thanks to my friend, Reverend Charles Preston Smith.

Charles, frontman for the popular local band, PotatoeBabies, started the tradition of live Record Store Day music at Dodds Record Shop. The first year he walked into the store unannounced and asked the owner where he could plug-in his amp. Here is a photo of the PotatoeBabies’ inaugural RSD performance at Dodds:


In 2013, Charles bought that record shop. In addition to headlining PotatoeBabies, on top of being on the forefront of the GR local music scene, and in spite of a regular day job, he welcomed a massive undertaking in restoring Dodds to its former glory. After 30 years in the same location, Dodds’ inventory had become overwhelming. It has taken months to reopen aisles and clear space for a stage. Thanks to Charles’ dedication, no longer is Dodds a cluttered collection of forgotten treasures. It is a museum of music history, all genres in all formats for all ages. In addition to the preservation of music history, Dodds will be known for parties and even weddings. One lucky couple was married there, by Charles himself, just a few weeks ago. Cool.

With him at the helm, Record Store Day 2014 was the biggest and best yet. Not only did bands perform on the street outside, but there was also a lineup of bands inside. I don’t know if you know this, but being insulated by tens of thousands of records does amazing things for a building’s acoustics. I’ve seen the band Bitters play at least a dozen times. They never sounded better than they did this past Saturday. I can’t get over how much fun my husband and I had with our son that day.


Of course, the weather was irresistible so if indoors wasn’t your thing, the music was flowing out on the sidewalk as well.


If this has got you feeling a little nostalgic and craving some vinyl, go see my friend Charles at Dodds Record Shop. Charles has invested countless hours, and his own blood, sweat, and tears into refashioning the downtown Grand Rapids icon into something special and unique. Hear the story of Dodds’ revival straight from his mouth and make an appearance on the 24/7 VinylCam while you’re at it. Learn more about his efforts here:

A new era for Dodds Records:

Heartside record shop to showcase memories:


Dodds Record Shop, Record Store Day 2014 lineup:


And now I look forward to Festival of the Arts 2014, a weekend long celebration in the streets of downtown Grand Rapids where we appreciate food, friends, art, dance, music, and of course, Rev Charles Preston Smith and the PotatoeBabies. Look for an article on that event coming this June.