By Merrill Robinson
For the past two years, End of All Music has been bringing the beat back to Oxford by promoting the importance of supporting local artists and businesses.
Store owner David Swider, who has lived in Oxford a decade, opened the record store two years ago with friend Bruce Watson, owner of Water Valley’s Fat Possum Records. Despite the fact that two record stores had failed on Oxford’s Square in the past 10 years, Swider and Watson believed they could succeed.
“I told Bruce that if we we’re going to open a record store, then it had to be the best,” said Swider. “I wanted people to love it so much that someone in New York City would say, ‘Hey, have you been to that record store in Mississippi?’”
Swider believes being out of the “money areas” of Oxford, such as the Square and Jackson Avenue is what makes End of All Music unique to record stores that previously failed in Oxford. Although Sisk Avenue and North Lamar Boulevard are beginning to expand, he isn’t worried that the uniqueness of the record store will diminish. Vinyl records have become cool again.
“Having the ability to hold a vinyl album romanticizes listening to vinyl because, not only is the music a piece of art, the album cover is a representation of the music itself,” said End of All Music regular, Devin Jerome. “It is the picture that the artist chose to embody their music in.”
More rising artists are producing vinyl records, like the local band Water Liars. End of All Music promotes local artists by selling their CDs and vinyl in the front of the store. Swider makes a deal with local artists to sell their albums in order to give them more exposure. He also hosts local artists and lets them play in the store.
“Having local artists play in the store gives people who can’t make it to the shows, like kids who are under 18, a chance to see them play,” said Swider. “It also brings people into the store and gives the store recognition.”
The record store has an annual event called Record Store Day where they sell limited edition records. It’s an event for record collectors to come to the store and buy limited edition records. It’s also a day for the Oxford community to come together and celebrate music.
At the last Record Store Day, End of All Music released a limited-edition cassette compilation featuring all Oxford-based musicians. High Point Coffee sold hot coffee for people camping out for $1. All proceeds from the sale of the release and the coffee went to MusiCares, a musician assistance charity through the Recording Academy of America that provides financial, medical and personal aid to artists.
“I camped out in front of the record store starting at 6 a.m. and helped High Point Coffee serve coffee to people who were camped out waiting for the store to open,” said High Point barista and End of All Music regular, Jordan Henry.
The store’s name is derived from a quote by local artist Charles Feathers. Feathers was a country and rockabilly musician from Holly Springs who was close friends with Junior Kimbrough, a Mississippi blues musician from Hudsonville. Feathers called Kimbrough “the beginning and End of All Music.”