Passion for records evolves into record club, ‘vinyl night’

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Usually, the word addict holds a negative connotation.

It’s not a good thing.

But for Paul Harris, 43, it refers to a nearly 30-year hobby, and he’s taking others down with him.

Harris, a physical therapist in the U.S. Navy for 14 years and married with six children, is the founder of a group in Beaufort called the LowCountry Vinyl Addicts.

“We are an eclectic group of vinyl record collectors, enthusiasts and music lovers who all share a similar passion about music recorded on vinyl,” Harris said.

Harris said he’s been collecting vinyl since the age of 14.

“My father had a great vinyl collection of 60s and 70s rock that he allowed me to play on his record player,” Harris said. “His collection expanded my appreciation for music records on vinyl.”

Harris said most of the group met looking for vinyl records at local thrift stores, antique shops and record stores in Savannah and Charleston.

“Earlier this year, I suggested to my friend and fellow record collector Chris (Bacon) the idea of getting together and listening to our favorite vinyl records,” he said.

“We used to always run into each other when we were out and about at the local thrift and resale stores,” Bacon said. “After a few encounters, we started to realize that each of us knew others that did the same thing we were doing. He came up with the idea of starting the group earlier this year since there was nothing similar in the area.”

Bacon started young like Harris. He’s been collecting since he was 11 or 12.

“I started DJing when I was 17 or 18,” he said. “I’m now 46 and have never stopped.”

The group debuted Vinyl Night in May at the Beaufort Cigar Lounge. The group has also met at NeverMore Books.

“It was just a few of us at first, but we enjoyed a night of listening to some great records over pizza, drinks and cigars,” Haris said. “So far, we have been getting together monthly for Vinyl Night and it has been a hit with more and more people attending.”

The nights usually have a theme centered around a particular style of music – sometimes more than one – but all genres of music are always welcome.

“We continue to keep it about listening to our favorite new and old vinyl while discussing music and record-hunting spots, both locally and beyond,” Harris said.

The group has made it’s way to social media, residing on Facebook (13 members at LowCountry Vinyl Addicts) and Instagram (@lowcountryvinyladdicts).

The next meeting of the Addicts will be Friday, Aug. 30 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Common Ground Coffee House. The theme of this meeting will include selections of jazz, blues and rock, particularly of the 1970s era, though all music is welcome.

There will also be records for sale.

Harris hopes to see some new faces, whether people bring records or not. 

“Come out and join us and listen to some great music on vinyl,” Harris said. “You are welcome to bring some records to play. But whether you have vinyl records or not, all are welcome to come and join us and listen to great music curated by the LowCountry Vinyl Addicts.”

Harris is just hoping to get them hooked.

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