Monday, December 28, 2015

10 New Songs of The Week

1. Carrie Underwood -Heartbeat
2. Ashley Campbell -Remembering
3. Raelynn -Careless
4. Lindsey Bryant -When a Girl Loves a Boy
5. Mackenzie Porter -Never Gonna Let You
6. Jana Kramer -Pop That Bottle
7. Allison Veltz -Set You Free
8. Carrie Cunningham -The Way You Look At Me
9. Jamie O'Neal -Just One Time
10. Joey Clarkson -Save Yourself

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Women of Country's Favorite Christmas Songs

Merry Christmas Eve to all my fellow women of country fans. With music being one of my favorite parts of the holiday season, I asked a few of my favorite country artists what their favorite holiday song is and here's what they said...

1. Merritt Whitley -I'll Be Home For Christmas
2. Amanda Cooksey -Santa Baby
3. Danielle Bourjeaurd -Jingle Bell Rock
4. Lindsey Bryant -Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
5. Ashley Taylor -Silent Night
6. Ania Hammer -Oh Holy Night

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Duos and Bands

Often showcasing single female artists, it's always great to feature the women in country music whom are a part of duos and bands, here are a few of my favorites...

1. Maddie and Tae
2. Lady Antebellum
3. The Band Perry
4. Little Big Town
5. The Civil Wars
6. Haley and Michaels
7. Thompson Square
8. Sugarland
9. Gloriana
10. Kate & Kacey
11. The JaneDear Girls
12. The Sunny Cowgirls

Monday, December 21, 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015

15 Albums Every Country Music Fan Should Have

1. Start Here -Maddie and Tae
2. The First Time -Kelsea Ballerini
3. Picking Up the Pieces -Jewel
4. Storyteller -Carrie Underwood
5. Thirty-One -Jana Kramer
6. Maren Morris -Maren Morris 
7. Wait For Me -Merritt Whitley
8. Untamed -Cam
9. Pageant Material -Kacey Musgraves
10. Lindsey Bryant -Lindsey Bryant
11. Southern Tide -Jordyn Stoddard
12. Coal train -Kaitlyn Baker
13. Piece By Piece -Kelly Clarkson
14. A Fine Mess -Kate Voegele 
15. Me -Raelynn

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Women of Country Take 2015 With These Highlighting Moments

  1. Maddie and Tae, Kelsea Ballerini, Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert, and Carrie Underwood perform at the 49th annual CMA Awards.
  2. Jana Kramer and Kelsea Ballerini headline CMT’s Next Women of Country Tour
  3. Pandora Presents: Women In Country at The Altman Building on October 14, 2015 in New York City.
  4. Maddie and Tae’s “Girl In a Country Song” hits the no. 1 position on Billboard’s Country Music charts
  5. Jana Kramer reveals her marriage to Michael Caussin, a new album, and a baby on the way.
  6. Kelsea Ballerini is named Billboard’s Rising Star
  7. Radio Disney announces Radio Disney Country hosted by The Highway’s Betsey Spina
  8. Cassadee Pope fights back with the release of “I am Invincible”
  9. Carrie Underwood makes history by becoming the only artist to have their first six albums enter at the top of the Billboard Country Album Chart.
  10. Trisha Yearwood was honored with the Voice of Music award at the 53rd annual American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ (ASCAP) Country Music Awards

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Quote of the Week

"A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at her" 

Taylor Swift Has Proven How a Small Town Girl Can Become a Worldwide Superstar

Featured in People Magazine’s “Most Inspirational People of the Year” and taking the world by storm on her 1989 tour, Taylor Swift is more than just a success in the music business. Growing up in the small town of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania before moving to Nashville to pursue country music at the young age of 14, Taylor strived to show how a small town girl could become a worldwide superstar and that’s exactly what she did.

Beginning as a country music up and coming artist, it took the release of her self-titled album in 2006 to put Taylor on the map. With her third single “Our Song” reaching the top of the Hot Country Songs Chart, Taylor became the youngest person to have released and written a number one hit on the charts.

In 2008 her Taylor’s second album “Fearless” was released and later recognized as the best selling album of 2009. The album won 4 Grammy Awards and headlined her first tour, the Fearless Tour, where Swift performed shows in North America, Australia, and Asia, reaching  over a million fans.

In addition to her singing career, the release of Fearless resulted in Swift’s television appearances on the CMT Network and future acting endeavors such as a role in the popular comedy “Valentine's Day” and the voice of Audrey in Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax”

Known for writing her own music, Speak Now was released in 2010 featuring 14 songs all self written by Taylor herself, including chart toppers “Mean,” “Sparks Fly,” “Ours” and “Back to December.” Speak now was just the beginning of Swift’s transition into the pop music genre as critics exclaimed Speak Now to “expand beyond country to border both alternative rock and dirty bubblegum pop” Throughout 2011 and 2012 Taylor participated in her first ever world tour with guests stars including country music’s Tim McGraw and Darius Rucker as well as pop’s Andy Grammer and Nicki Minaj.

Later Swift partnered with the producers of the popular book and movie series “The Hunger Games” contributing two original songs to the album, “Safe and Sound” and “Eyes Open.”

Her fourth studio album entitled “Red” transformed the young country singer to a powerhouse on the top of the pop music charts. The album features hit song “We Are Never Getting Back Together” earning Swift her first ever number one spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 Chart. As a part of the Red Tour, Swift played 86 shows featuring her duet with popular acoustic artist Ed Sheeran “Everything Has Changed.”

Recently releasing her most current album 1989, Taylor Swift has proven how a small country girl can be Billboard’s Woman of the Year and have over 40 million albums sold all across the globe. Taylor’s success have won her a countless number of awards, including seven Grammy Awards, 19 American Music Awards, eleven Country Music Association Awards, eight Academy of Country Music Awards, 22 Billboard Music Awards, one Brit Award and one Emmy.

Though we miss Taylor as a headliner for women in country, she still continues to inspire today’s up and coming country artists. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Taylor has done the impossible and doesn’t seem to be slowing down either.

Check out some of Taylor’s old country music videos below:
“Teardrops On My Guitar”

*One Tree Hill fans check out Chris Keller (Tyler Hilton) in Taylor’s music video for “Teardrops on my Guitar”

Saturday, December 12, 2015

10 New Songs To Check Out This Week

1. Daddy's Money -Brooke Eden
2. Last Song -Jana Kramer
3. Wait for Me -Merritt Whitley
4. Runaway Train -Cam
5. Shut Up and Fish -Maddie and Tae
6. My Church -Maren Morris
7. Time After Time -Ashley Monroe
8. Keep This Safe -Jillian Jacqueline
9. Can't Buy Love -Courtney Cole
10. Loved -Lucy Hale

And make sure to tag @sxmthehighway to hear all of your favorite new songs and artists on the radio for a chance to help women reach the top of the charts in 2016

Friday, December 11, 2015

Cam Untamed

Country newcomer Cam is experiencing what every singer hopes for: Her new single “Burning House” is currently on fire at country radio and is the most-added song of the week.
Cam’s single has now been added to a total of 95 stations (reporting and non-reporting), which she celebrated on her Facebook page. In this week alone, “Burning House” beat out Kenny Chesney‘s “Save It For a Rainy Day,” Dierks Bentley‘s “Riser,” A Thousand Horses‘ “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial,” Florida Georgia Line‘s “Anything Goes” and Chris Janson‘s “Buy Me a Boat,” among others.

That accomplishment gives Cam bragging rights as the female artist whose debut project has earned the most adds on impact day since Carrie Underwood in 2007. She also has had the most sales per spin three weeks in a row.

“Burning House” is from Cam’s debut EP, Welcome to Cam Country. She co-wrote every song on the record (and her writing credits also include a song for pop sensation Miley Cyrus).
“I chose these four songs off the album, covering the widest range of emotions to give more people a chance to recognize themselves in the songs,” Cam says. “This is just the beginning of the adventure, and everyone is welcome.”

Cam's new album "Untamed" is out now, a perfect gift for any country music fan on your list. 

Cam's 'Burning House' Becomes Country Radio's Most-Added Song |

Monday, December 7, 2015

Diversity at the Grammys

Mickey Guyton
The nominee list is out for the Grammys bringing both hope and disappointment to artists and fans across the nation, but most don’t recognize the diversity or lack thereof among the nominees over the years. Of course it’s important that we recognize the top performers of the industry, but it would be nice to see less of the white male gender up on the awards stage. Luckily this year we can already see a change in diversity. Of the 27 categories represented 53 of the nominations this year went to the women. Much more than the numbers from the previous year where only 41 of the nominations went to women. This may not seem that bad, but there is still a problem of diversity here at the Grammys. The total nominees each year is around 135 artists and seeing the number of women nominees knowing that fact seems astonishing, for women don’t even quite make half of the total nominees.

This trend is also found among people of color. Last year only 4 out of 25 people were of color, mostly made up of pop and rap singers such as Beyonce, Pitbull, and Pharrell, this year the number has increased to 11 out of 25, which seems even better than the ratio of men to women. But let’s think about just country music for a second. Picture anyone of color? Probably not and if you do I bet you’ve only thought of a few. Country music has been stuck in their own little world embracing country as a white male genre, but we’re already seeing a change with the women aren’t we? So why can’t country music accept more people of color into the genre? Mickey Guyton is the only women of color in all of country music, something I have recently noticed and want to make apparent throughout the country music industry.  

Yes naming the best is what’s right, but why not introduce more diversity into the music industry. It’s not like there’s a lack of diverse individuals with a desire to sing and be heard, we just have to let them in. So let’s hope for even more change next year at the Grammys and every awards show in between, for it’s about time women and people of color get recognized for over half of America’s population which they represent.

2016 Grammy Nominees (Country):

Album of the Year
Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
Chris Stapleton, Traveller
Taylor Swift, 1989
The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness

Song of the Year (Awarded to Songwriters)
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, “See You Again”
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”

Best New Artist
Courtney Barnett
James Bay
Sam Hunt
Tori Kelly
Meghan Trainor

Best Country Album
Sam Hunt, Montevallo
Little Big Town, Pain Killer
Ashley Monroe, The Blade
Kacey Musgraves, Pageant Material
Chris Stapleton, Traveller

Best Country Song (Awarded to Songwriters)
Lee Ann Womack, “Chances Are”
Tim McGraw feat. Catherine Dunn, “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Brandy Clark, “Hold My Hand”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”

Best Country Solo Performance
Cam, “Burning House”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
Carrie Underwood, “Little Toy Guns”
Keith Urban, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”
Lee Ann Womack, “Chances Are”

Best Country Duo / Group Performance
Brothers Osborne, “Stay a Little Longer”
Joey + Rory, “If I Needed You”
Charles Kelley, Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay, “The Driver”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Blake Shelton feat. Ashley Monroe, “Lonely Tonight”

Best Americana Album
Brandi Carlile, The Firewatcher’s Daughter
Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, The Traveling Kind
Jason Isbell, Something More Than Free
The Mavericks, Mono
Punch Brothers, The Phosphorescent Blues

Best American Roots Song (Awarded to Songwriters)
The Mavericks, “All Night Long”
Don Henley and Merle Haggard, “The Cost of Living”
Punch Brothers, “Julep”
Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, “The Traveling Kind”
Jason Isbell, “24 Frames”

Best American Roots Performance
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, “And Am I Born to Die”
Buddy Guy, “Born to Play Guitar”
The Milk Carton Kids, “City of Our Lady”
Punch Brothers, “Julep”
Mavis Staples, “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean”

Best Bluegrass Album
Dale Ann Bradley, Pocket Full of Keys
Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley, Before the Sun Goes Down
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, In Session
Ralph Stanley & Friends, Man of Constant Sorrow
The SteelDrivers, The Muscle Shoals Recordings

Best Folk Album
Norman Blake, Wood, Wire & Words
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn
Rhiannon Giddens, Tomorrow Is My Turn
Patty Griffin, Servant of Love
Glen Hansard, Didn’t He Ramble

Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media
Empire: Season 1
Fifty Shades of Grey
Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
Pitch Perfect 2

Best Recording Package
Alagoas, Alagoas
Snoop Dogg, Bush
Florence + the Machine, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Elvis Presley, My Happiness
Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Asleep at the Wheel

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Grease Live!

With a rise in live shows, TV networks are all about the new idea of broadcasting live productions. From NBC’s Peter Pan to their new hit “The Wiz” featuring the all star cast of Queen Latifah, Ne-yo, David Alan Grier and more, there’s no wonder why Fox wants to put on a show of their own.

With a wide fan base for the all popular hit musical Grease, Fox just knew it was the one. Grease Live was quickly presented and features a cast like no other. From High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens playing the role of Betty Rizzo and Nickelodeon's Carlos Pena, the stars are from all around the young adult scene expanding this old classic to the new generation. The main roles of Danny and Sandy, previously portrayed by John Travolta and Olivia newton-John, are being played by Dancing With the Stars judge and country singer Julianne Hough and Les Miserables and Graceland’s Aaron Tveit.

Grease Live is scheduled to air on Fox on January 31, 2016

Maddie and Tae Fight Bro-Country

Last year, Nashville duo Maddie & Tae released its first single, "Girl in a Country Song." It took exception to the prevailing notion, advanced in countless bro-country anthems, that women are empty-headed, bikini-wearing man vessels who exist only to dance on tailgates and serve beer. In an interview with the Tribune last year, Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line, bro-country's greatest lights, claimed to be unfamiliar with the song, which he almost certainly had heard. "All I'm gonna say about that is, I don't know one girl who doesn't want to be a girl in a country song," said Kelley. "That's all I'm gonna say to you. That's it."

This frosty exchange did not escape Maddie & Tae's notice. "I did see that comment and it didn't really make sense to me," says Taylor Dye sweetly. "He's not a girl, so how would he know?"
"Girl in a Country Song" succeeded because it accurately read the national mood — everyone seemed to grow tired of bro-country at the same time — and because it was a catchy and funny song performed by two sunny, young blondes. They were permitted to tweak the Nashville establishment, which doesn't take kindly to tweaking, because they clearly meant no harm.
Read between the lines in interviews with Maddie & Tae's record label overlords, and it seems they expected "Girl in a Country Song," which went to No. 1 on the country charts, would be a novelty hit at best. Maddie & Tae weren't sure it would even get that far. "We didn't think the song was going to get released," says Maddie Marlow. "That's why we were so honest."
Marlow and Dye recently landed an often-elusive follow-up hit with "Fly," a lovely, harmony-heavy ode to female empowerment that sounds like a gentler version of something the Dixie Chicks would have done in the mid-1990s. "Fly" is the highlight of their new, full-length debut, "Start Here." The album itself is a dream the women, both 20, have been working toward for almost a quarter of their lives. Marlow was raised in Sugar Land, Texas, and Dye in Ada, Okla. In 2010 they met at a Dallas showcase arranged by a vocal coach and became friends. They shared a laser like single-mindedness common to famous people: School was a means to an end. "It was different for us growing up, because our mindset was never the high school mindset," Dye says. "We were always thinking about what we wanted, and how we were going to get there. We were never (really) in high school, if you know what I mean. We moved out at 17, and were living a 25-year-old's life."

Marlow and Dye moved to Nashville and began writing songs with a team of industry pros. They were broke and far from home. It was a difficult period. "I'm not really the type of person who wears my heart on my sleeve," says Dye. "I keep everything inside. To walk into a songwriting session and tell everyone what you're feeling when you've just met them for the first time was a really scary feeling, but Maddie and I have gained a lot of confidence through songwriting."
It was out of these sessions that "Girl in a Country Song" would emerge. "For three months, we kept going into these writing sessions going, 'Man, I just heard this song on the radio, and it told me to slide my sugar shaker over,' " Marlow says. "If any guy spoke to us the way those country songs spoke to women, it would not be good for that guy. I would probably punch him in the face. We were so fed up with how we had to be the stereotypical girl who looks perfect in the music video, she's coming out of the water in a bikini with her long tan legs. Not all of us are that girl."

Maddie & Tae took the song to Scott Borchetta, founder of the label Big Machine, who had signed Taylor Swift. "We walked in there guns a-blazing, like, 'This is who we are. I hope you like it. If you don't, we get it,' " Marlow says. "We played 'Girl in a Country Song' in front of Scott Borchetta and he loved it. I think that's what he was attracted to with Taylor, also. She was saying what she wanted to say, and she wasn't going to hide that, and that's the same thing with us."

Maddie & Tae have been touring almost nonstop since the release of their debut, have just released a new single, "Shut Up and Fish" and are in the process of buying houses in Nashville. "Girl" and "Fly" were both Top 10 country hits, the only time in eight years a new female act has achieved this. "We gave up every comfortable thing we had for this dream," Dye says. "And it was so worth it."

Portland come check out Maddie and Tae this sunday at the Moda Center with appearances by Hunter Hayes, A Thousand Horses, and James Otto. Tickets on sale now at

Stewart, Allison. "Maddie & Tae Taking on That 'country Girl' Business."Chicago Tribune. Na, 5 Nov. 2015. Web. 3 Dec. 2015. <>.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

CMC Music Awards Australia

Australia here’s your chance to hear your favorite local and international country music artists perform at the 6th annual CMC Music Awards Live in Brisbane on Thursday March 10. Tickets are available now and going fast.

The CMC Music Awards, held at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), will feature some of the biggest names in country music. Plus, for the first time ever, the awards will be broadcast LIVE, only on Foxtel’s Country Music Channel.

And don’t miss female country music stars Kelsea Ballerini and Cam, plus local artists The Sunny Cowgirls, Melanie Dyer, Caitlyn Shadbolt and more.  

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Country Christmas Playlist

1. Mistletoe -Lucy Hale
2. Carol of the Bells -LeAnn Rimes
3. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas -Sara Evans
4. Joy to the World -Faith Hill
5. Baby, It’s Cold Outside -Lady Antebellum 
6. Santa Baby -Kellie Pickler
7. White Christmas -Martina McBride
8. All I Want for Christmas is You -Whitney Duncan
9. Baby! It’s Christmas -Jessie James Decker
10. Do You Hear What I Hear -Carrie Underwood
11. Up On the Housetop -Reba McEntire
12. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree -Kaitlyn Baker
13. Country Christmas -Loretta Lynn
14. Mistletoe -Colbie Caillat
15. I’ll Be Home -Meghan Trainor

1. Wrapped in Red Album -Kelly Clarkson
2. Merry Christmas -Mariah Carey

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Jana Kramer: This Year's Grand Marshal for the 62nd annual Piedmont Natural Gas Nashville Christmas Parade

This year one of Music City's highest honors is going to the girls. With her new album "31" recently released and a baby on the way, Jana Kramer has made a place in the hearts of country music fans all across the nation. Nashville is honoring Jana's success and major accomplishments by naming her this year's Grand Marshal for the 62nd annual Piedmont Natural Gas Nashville Christmas Parade.

The parade with take place on December 5th through the streets of Downtown Nashville. The parade will also feature the Nashville Ballet, Vanderbilt University’s Spirit of Gold marching band, and an abundance of balloons and floats. All the proceeds from the event go to Piedmont’s Share the Warmth energy assistance program, which provides money to low-income families giving them the ability to pay their energy bills and stay warm for the winter.

The parade will begin at 10AM at 8th Ave. and Broadway, heading east down Broadway to 2nd Ave. N, crossing over the Cumberland River, and ending at the base of Woodland St. Bridge.

Want more Jana Kramer news and pictures follow @janakramerstar on Instagram

Friday, November 27, 2015

CMA Christmas Hosted By Jennifer Nettles

CCX_2015_KA_v3a_WEB_Lyrd with hostWith Thanksgiving now behind us the holiday season is now upon us and there’s no better way to kick off the most wonderful time of the year with CMA Country Christmas. Enjoy the magic of the holidays with your favorite Country stars, as they perform classic Christmas songs and share their treasured holiday memories. Hosted by the talented Jennifer Nettles and including Performances by Kelsea Ballerini, Dan + Shay, Brett Eldredge, Mickey Guyton, Jewel, Charles Kelley, Martina McBride, David Nail, Nettles, Pentatonix, Thomas Rhett LeAnn Rimes, Darius Rucker, Brian Setzer, Michael W. Smith, and Lindsey Stirling this is sure an event worthy enough to land a spot on calendars all across the nation.

Want to learn more about CMA Country Christmas check out their website at and make sure to share your christmas stories using the hashtage #CMACHRISTMAS

CMA Country Christmas airs on Thursday, December 3rd at 9|8c on ABC

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

20 Songs to Listen to Over Your Thanksgiving Break

1. Fire -Merritt Whitley
2. Play Like Ken -Ashley Taylor
3. By the Way -Lindsay Ell
4. Pretty Boy -Ania Hammar
5. Dance in the Rain -Jana Kramer
6. I am Invincible -Cassadee Pope
7. Name Changer -Lindsey Bryant
8. Fireflies -April Kry
9. Just a Boy -Maddie Wilson
10. Burn -Kaitlyn Baker
11. Seal it With a Kiss -McKenna Faith
12. Five More Minutes -Ashley Gearing
13. American Dreamin' -Brooke Eden
14. Hold On -Aileeah Colgan
15. Talk is Cheap -Brit Daniels
16. Heartbeat -Carrie Underwood
17. Somebody's Hero -Jamie O'Neal
18. Always Sing -RaeLynn
19. Heart Unlocked -Olivia Lane
20. Bar Hoppin' -Sandra Lynn

Listen on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, and more...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Kelsa Ballerini on Vinyl

Have a vinyl player? Make sure to purchase Kelsea Ballerini new album "The First Time" available in vinyl on amazon and in stores today! Don't have a record player check out my story on the vinyl comeback and why you should add a record player to your christmas list this year.

Next Women of Country: The Vinyl Comeback

With music these days more convenient to find music while opening up more space in your home, the use of CD’s and vinyls his diminished greatly.However since 1993 record players have been making a steady comeback in sales from fewer than 500,000 units in 1993 to 6 million last year, according to Nielsen Soundscan, which tracks music sales.
“The sale of vinyl records has gone up for four years in a row now  a 30-to-40 percent gain each year,” said Chamberlain, who sells used as well as new vinyl at his store in addition to some CDs.

The demand has increased so much that Nashville-based United Record Pressing, the plant that presses most LPs, is expanding and will be able to nearly double its output, according to a May 2014 Billboard Magazine interview.
Chamberlain said the reasons for the jump in sales are varied. First, there is the sound quality, which Chamberlain insists is superior on vinyl.
“There’s something to be said for putting on a record, It just sounds like it breathes, it sounds alive compared to a digital thing which is kind of harsh-sounding to me.”
The reason for that, he says is that the compression used to make digital files smaller, whether on a CD or on a computer or mobile device stored as an MP3 file, eliminates much of the high and low-end frequencies in order to save space.“With a record, that doesn’t happen, so it sounds better,” Chamberlain said.Not everyone is convinced the sound quality is superior, though. Therrian Dolby, manager at Newbury Comics in Northampton, which sells CDs and vinyl LPs, said the difference in sound quality is “arguably” better, and Dave Witthaus, owner of Platterpus Records in East Hampton said he’s in his 50s and he’s just glad he can hear anything, never mind the subtle differences in quality between a CD and record.

Simply put, there isn’t a quick explanation for the rise in LP sales, Dolby said. “I couldn’t pick out a single common thread except vinyl is a very cool thing to have right now,” said Dolby. One thing that seems to be driving that “cool factor,” beyond a supposed superior audio experience, is the experience of purchasing, playing and collecting these tangible objects, wrapped in sometimes elaborate covers and artwork.“It’s a 12-by-12 canvas,” Witthaus said of LP album covers. CDs, by contrast, come with a 5 by 5 booklet and digital music comes with a tiny photo on a small screen, if that, said Witthaus.“What’s cooler, having a nice record or having this?” Chamberlain asked, pointing to a small MP3 player with a grainy postage-sized photo of an album cover displayed on it.

Some artists, like Jack White, have also embraced the inherent collectability of the format by releasing their work on LPs made from vinyl of different colors and in limited batches.
Glenn Siegel, administrative adviser at WMUA in Amherst, boasts a collection of about 2,000 vinyl LPs he started collecting in the mid-1970s, he said.For Siegel, the biggest advantage to LPs is their historic value.“A good part of my jazz education came from reading the back of album covers,” he said in a telephone interview Wednesday.Siegel noted that digital music doesn’t come with the same liner notes and information about the construction of the album and the people who performed on it the way LPs did in their liner notes.It bears noting that the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences awards a Grammy each year for best album notes.Siegel said that many of his older LPs don’t necessarily sound as good as CDs, simply because they’re older and have been played often and have some “hiss” and “crackle”, but modern LPs tend to be made from higher-grade, thicker vinyl, making a new LP sound just as good, if not better than most CDs.

Another driver for the vinyl market is a rejection by music fans of digital formats in general, some because of the disputed sound quality, others because they’ve never had the LP experience, Dolby said.Still others find themselves rifling through bins of new and used LPs to replace records they got rid of when CDs were dominant or to find rare albums that weren’t released on CD at all or were released in inferior versions on CD.“Most people look at the used things first,” Chamberlain said. “There’s often something really special in there.”
Or, something you can’t get on CD at all.For example, Witthaus said, Little Feat’s classic “Waiting for Columbus” was originally released on CD with key tracks missing from the LP version because they couldn’t fit on a CD.
He said he can’t remember the last time he sold a Little Feat CD, but he sells LP copies of their work often.It’s not just used LPs or re-issues that are driving the market, either.
According to Digital Music News, the top-selling LP of 2013 was Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories,” followed by Vampire Weekend’s “Modern Vampires of the City,” and Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor.”

Having a more permanent version of a cherished album may also be important to those who have their entire collections saved as digital files, Dolby said. One thing many people who switched to digital may not have considered, Dolby said, is the format isn’t as permanent as some may think. In many cases, digital music is only available to the consumer as long as their computer’s hard drive is working. A catastrophic crash can erase an entire collection and, in some cases, it can’t be retrieved without re-purchasing everything.And, as vinyl gains in popularity, more and more people have lost interest in CDs altogether.

Witthaus estimates that he sells about 10 LPs for every one CD and Dolby said many younger music fans have never purchased a CD at all. “They’ve never even thought about it,” he said. Where digital formats have the upper hand against vinyl is in their portability.
Witthaus said the problem with LPs is the same one it has always been — you can’t listen to one in your car.

And, as much of a vinyl fan as Chamberlain is, he does have to resort to listening to MP3s when on his bike, he said.Ryan Clark, 18, who was searching through the vinyl bin at Newbury Comics on Wednesday, said he thinks it’s that portability that drew people away from LPs in the first place.“With that, people have lost the true sound of music and gone for what’s easy and quick,” he said.But, once you’ve gone and picked up a bunch of new or used vinyl, what can you play it on?Chamberlain said savvy shoppers can check out thrift stores and flea markets for used equipment, including turntables, amplifiers and speakers. Witthaus said a meager investment in hardware can produce really satisfying results, but he does recommend being prepared to spend $100-$200 for a good-quality needle and cartridge to get the most sound per spin.

Regardless of the type of turntable or size of the speakers, what doesn’t change is the ritual of bringing an album home, opening it up, examining the album artwork, reading the liner notes and lyrics sheet and settling in for an hour or so of analog music, Dolby said. “It’s more of an experience than shuffling on your iPod,” Dolby said.