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Record Shops Extinct? Not In Nashville

NASHVILLE — In the iTunes age of music downloads, Internet radio and CD burners, successful record stores are few and far between. The record store, though, is surviving and thriving in Music City.

Start with the legendary Ernest Tubb Record Shop (417 Broadway, etrecordshop.com), home to thousands of country records, CDs and videos, from contemporary material to hard-to-find music from the 1920s.

"We have everything that's currently available in the country music market," said general manager Dave Simon. "We search high and low for any new products that are out there, and we try to stock it."

The store, known as Shop No. 1 among the four Tubb locations, opened in 1947 a block and a half away, and moved to its current location in 1951.

At the other end of the musical spectrum is Third Man Records (623 Seventh Ave. South, thirdmanrecords.com), opened last year by Jack White (White Stripes, Raconteurs) as a home for his record label, production house and distribution center. Third Man does about two releases a month, offering limited-edition versions of its singles — hand-pressed, hand-embossed and in tri-color vinyl — by subscription (on the site's home page, click on "Vault") or via a tiny on-site record shop.

Another store worth noting is Grimey's New & Pre-Loved Records (1604 Eighth Ave. South, grimeys.com). Mike Grimes started the business, the story goes, because he had a lot of old records sitting around and wanted to open a cool shop.

Visitors also need to stop in at Lawrence Record Shop (409 Broadway, lawrencerecordshop.com), which ships vinyl all over the world.

"In the last few years. It's been light jazz, blues, hip-hop," said Paul Lawrence, whose family has run the business since 1954. "But people also come in for country and bluegrass ... so, much of what we've got isn't available on the Internet."

"They're awesome, and they're all their own people," local music impresario Jason Moon Wilkins said of the city's record shops.

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