Although they’ve always been the audiophile’s standard, vinyl records have made a triumphant return to the mainstream. Despite having been declared dead when CDs emerged in the 1980s, vinyl records now account for one-quarter of all physical albums sold, with sales totaling in the tens of millions each year. While sales of other physical formats are dwindling, it seems that LPs are here to stay.
Here in Middle Tennessee, we have an impressive number of top-notch record shops, each with its own unique charm. It wasn’t easy to choose, but we put our heads together and voted on Parks Realty’s picks for the best record shops in the region! If your summer plans include browsing milk crates for gems, these shops should be at the top of your agenda.
Jack White is a legendary figure within the music world, so his decision to establish his Nashville record store was met with enthusiasm, which has proved to be well-deserved. The record store is connected to four other branches of Third Man Records: a novelties lounge, The Blue Room live venue and bar, a darkroom and photo studio, and the record label’s main offices.
The record store itself is immaculately curated and has been called “the best record store I’ve ever been to” by a long list of vinyl enthusiasts. Perhaps their most unique trait is that they sell their own exclusive releases from both Jack White and the impressive roster of musicians who record on the label.
The interior is peppered with memorabilia from Jack White’s independent music career and his time with Meg White as the White Stripes, making it a fun experience for anyone who enjoys his music or music history more generally.
If you long for the days when your weekends were spent huddled over crates flipping through vintage and new albums in tiny shops, Phonoluxe is calling your name. To avoid the thickest crowds, head over mid-week, because this little shop is bustling every weekend.
Beloved especially for their selection of collectible and rare records, this shop has been a Nashville standout for decades. The staff is friendly and helpful, so don’t hesitate to ask for assistance finding a specific LP.
Located within a former residential home, The Groove is East Nashville’s reigning relaxed record shop. They stock new and used LPs, CDs, and even cassettes, making it ideal for lazy afternoons spent searching for something rare, collectible, or just nostalgic. Still, if you want to run in on your lunch break and pick up something specific, the organization and welcoming staff will make your errand a breeze.
If you are in the process of decorating your listening room, this shop carries damaged 45s that are perfect for using as décor. Additionally, they offer parts for new and vintage turntables, and host live music annually during their “Friday Night Fridays” held each October.
Grimey’s record shop is a Nashville bastion, renowned for being one of the best music stores in the nation. They are located within an old church complete with stained glass windows, which the owner says perfectly suits their goal of serving as a sanctuary for music lovers and musicians alike.
Their music selection is immense, comprised of LPs and a solid selection of CDs. They are connected to a local brewery that also offers coffee, a second-hand clothing store, and host a local bookseller within their own shop, making Grimey’s an ideal place to spend long hours relaxing and browsing.
Vinyl Tap Wax and Drafts is owned by ninth-generation Nashvillian Todd Hedrick. He opened this, Nashville’s only existing bar and record store hybrid, in 2016. The record store stocks both new and used vinyl, while the bar rotates 24 craft beers on tap, serves unusual, canned beers, and offers a full cocktail menu. Pick up deli sandwiches with sides, or order appetizers. Either way, you’ve got to start your night digging through the crates and sipping beers here! Live events and DJ spinning classes make this the place to be.
Alison and her husband, Brian, are musicians and audiophiles, and their love of LPs is beautifully expressed in this perfectly organized shop. Each used LP is examined and graded for condition, which saves customers both time and effort during their visits. You won’t be digging through crates searching for hidden gems here; rather, you’ll have a true boutique experience.
Don’t let this shop’s tiny size deter you from visiting. Their offerings are diverse and extensive, and the staff is equally helpful to brand-new LP listeners and knowledgeable lifelong collectors. Stop by to browse new and used LPs, CDs, and cassettes. Be sure to take advantage of their stamp card, which offers a stamp for every $10 spent.
Variety Records stocks new and used LPs, CDs, and cassettes, all perfectly organized and graded for quality. The staff is knowledgeable and eager to help, making this a great stop for anyone who is either beginning to collect LPs, or returning to the format after a long hiatus. Situated in Columbia’s charming historic town square, Variety Records should definitely make your list of spots to prioritize on your shopping tour here.
When you’re searching for an LP that you believe may not exist anymore, head to Disk Go Joe’s. Despite their extensive new offerings, this shop’s collection of top-condition pre-loved vinyl is their crowning achievement. Joe carefully inspects each LP that enters the shop, so any vinyl purchased here will be clean and play perfectly from minute one.
Don’t sleep on this location. Audio hounds, please note that Joe’s musical knowledge is impressive, and he’s always happy to chat when customers have a question.
Elevator Vinyl is Hendersonville’s only record shop, and it does the town proud. Though it’s on the small side, and shares space with a highly-rated tattoo and piercing parlor, the impressive collection of LPs draws people from near and far to visit. Though you may have to browse the crates to stumble upon that surprise gem, the experience will be enjoyable from start to finish.
Talk to Tim if you have questions; his kind personality and astounding musical knowledge are one of the shop’s primary features!
Audiophiles of Middle Tennessee, we want to hear from you! Do you have additional recommendations for must-visit record shops in our region? Please leave us a comment below, and as always, we thank you for visiting us here at Parks.