Friday, 26 April 2013

Black Hawk Mines Music: Rocker Jack White's Nashville store offer do-it-yourself records

Last Saturday, Rock musician Jack White celebrated Record Store Day by giving customers a opportunity to record their own voices on vinyl on a vintage machine at his record shop near downtown Nashville.

Voice-O-Graph, a record booth from 1947 was used by White, who has embraced vinyl over digital both as an artist and as the head of Third Man Records in Nashville to treat their costumers.

"We'll have the record booth open and available for people to come in, sing a song and get a copy of it on record," Third Man Records executive Ben Blackwell said in an interview on Wednesday.

"It's a refurbished 1947 Voice-O-Graph record booth," Blackwell said. "As far as we can tell, it will be the only functioning record booth open to the public in the world."

Every third Saturday of each April Record Store Day is marked internationally that aims to encourage people to visit independent record stores.

Third Man Records will be staging in-house performances by some of the music label's artists adding up to the recording booth in the store's "Novelties Lounge".

Blackwell said record booths were popular in the 1940s and 1950s and could be found in public places, like train stations, along with photo booths.

"They were used as a way to record an audio postcard and send it to someone you love or to go in and sing a little song so you can hear what your voice sounds like," he said.

The Voice-O-Graph is about the size of a telephone booth.  The idea is fans will pay a fee to produce their own record.

"Just think of it as a blank vinyl record and when you are singing, it is making the grooves into the record," Blackwell said.

White's Third Man Records has been recognized for experimenting with vinyl, having in the previous few months added a record lathe that allows live acts performing in the Blue Room.  The Blue Room is the company concert venue, to be recorded directly to discs.

The contemporary music fan has "never been faced with the technology to put their voice and their thoughts on a record" and take it home Blackwell said.

"Jack has been looking for a long time for one of these machines," Blackwell said. "After years and years and years he finally crossed paths with one. It was a no-brainer to get it up and running for our Novelties Lounge."

The booth will remain after Record Store Day, and he expects it to be a popular attraction to the store, which sells exclusively Third Man recordings - albums by various artists as well as by White and his three group configurations: The White Stripes, Dead Weather and The Raconteurs Blackwell added.

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