This fall, I have been teaching a course at Middle Tennessee State University (Go Blue Raiders!) called, “Writing for Interactive Experiences.” It is my second time having taught this course, the first time being the previous fall.
The gig calls for me to instruct undergraduate-level students how to approach the act of writing “content” for the shorter attention spans and evolving expectations of online readers. It is an exciting, thought-provoking class and the students are fantastic.
Class meets on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, and quite often after class I find myself finished for the day, not just in terms of productivity but emotional drain. I need to get away from people, from hearing myself talk. I need to think about things other than whether I fulfilled my instruction duties well or not. This means shopping for records.
As far as I can tell, Murfreesboro contains at least three very good record stores, all within three miles of each other. I have included this interactive map (below) to prove my point, along with a recap of my personal impressions of each place.
The Great Escape (810 NW Broad Street, #202) Like its Nashville-based sister location, The Great Escape Murfreesboro is large and carries comics, CDs, DVDs, posters, and novelty items along with new and used records. Being the biggest of these three record stores, the selection is usually quite good, though the prices, especially for new vinyl, are steep. Still, I can always find something there worth its price tag. Recent purchases: Donald Byrd, Street Lady, Gabor Szabo, Rambler.
Crying Cat Books and Records (504 North Maney Avenue) Crying Cat is in a residential neighborhood, and the store itself is a house. It’s nice to walk from room to room while browsing, not knowing what next you’ll see as you pass through each doorway. Again, the new vinyl prices are exorbitant but the used stuff has a few treasures. I’ve had good luck here. Recent purchases: Jaco Pastorious, Jaco, The Pointer Sisters, Priority, Cal Tjader, Soul Sauce.
Century 21 Music & More (125 Lasseter Drive) If I had to break it down, I would say this store is 65 percent head shop and 35 percent record store. The last time I was in there, the guy behind the counter was coaching a young man on how to beat his employer’s drug test. Which is great! Anyway, their record selection, all of it used, much of it smelling of patchouli, is pretty good. Lots of old and weird stuff. Recent purchases: O’Donel Levy, Dawn of a New Day, Bread, The Best of Bread.