As Aboveground Records prepares to close its doors on Saturday, owner Mike Barnes declares that this week is all about hanging out. “This week isn’t about commerce, it’s about friendship," he said on Sunday afternoon.
I’m not exactly sure how long ago it was that Aboveground Records earned my undying loyalty. It might have been nearly 10 years ago after the Christmas dinner at which my Edinburgh-based brother in law asked me about a young blues singer from the Vineyard named Willy Mason.
After nearly 20 years in business, Aboveground Records, the landmark indie Island record store that has had a following among people of all ages, plans to close its doors.
On Wednesday morning this week Aboveground founder and owner Michael Barnes announced a closing date for the beloved store at the Triangle in Edgartown by posting a simple message reading on the store’s Facebook page: “1995-2014.”
“We’re in the final three months,” Mr. Barnes told the Gazette on Wednesday. He said he will likely close in the first week of January 2014.
In the Edgartown Triangle there is a store with boxes of compact discs labeled “$1” out front, crates of used CDs inside, and a sizeable collection of new and used vinyl. Aboveground Records is adapting to the 21st century.
The heart of the business is Vineyard-born Mike Barnes. At 36, he has owned Aboveground for 16 years. The store began before the mp3 existed and has seen what that technology has done to the music industry.
During its 16-year history, Aboveground Records has been a haven for finding all manner of music, new and old, popular and obscure. The store has also been one of the best places on the Island to hear live music.
“The concept around [our concerts] was to bring the bands that didn’t have a place in other venues, artists that maybe didn’t fit in the downtown Edgartown or Oak Bluffs scene,” owner Mike Barnes said the other day at his store. “It’s the little bit noisier, a little more dangerous sound.”