In Vinyl Lives we spotlight and profile record stores around the country who offer music lovers an experience that goes beyond an iTunes purchase or a Spotify playlist. Vinyl has found a new resurgence and the good folks behind independent record stores are on the front line, directly responsible for curating a unique collection of music. Here at Glide Magazine we feel that record stores are a valuable part of the community and to music as a whole, and are therefore worth celebrating.For the latest edition of Vinyl Lives we are changing things up a bit, and instead of focusing on an independent record store we are turning the spotlight to a label, particularly one that seems to function like its own record store in many ways.
Tommy Michael had always been into recording concerts, and after catching laid back stoner rockers Natural Child in 2013, his interest in doing it again was rekindled and Shed House Records was born. Michael had always wanted to start a record label and Shed House was the perfect way to combine that dream with his love for recording shows. The concept for Shed House is pretty simple: Michael makes a high quality recording of a band he loves performing live, usually in or around his homebase of Lauderdale, Mississippi, works out a deal with the band, and releases the show as a vinyl album or, in some cases, a cassette. The very first release from the label (SHR001) was that 2013 Natural Child show, an LP and 7” simply called Live In Birmingham that quickly sold out.
“When I first started the label I had no idea what i was doing or what I was in for. I just started reaching out to bands that I like to see if they were interested in doing live releases. I have been told no more times than I can count and have had several recordings that just didn’t make the cut,” says Michael.
Like most tapers, Michael got into recording shows from trading bootleg tapes of the Grateful Dead when he was growing up. It was that raw, in-the-moment sound of those recordings that inspired his approach to capturing live performances, and ultimately the philosophy behind Shed House Records.
“The main focus of the label is and always will be live recordings that make you feel like you are in the audience. I want you to hear that bottle breaking in the background or that part where the band fucked up an intro and started over, the drunk guy in the corner yelling ‘fuck yeah, woooo’. I want the listener to swear you can almost smell the reefer and alcohol coming off the vinyl,” says Michael.
You get this feeling from Shed House’s six releases to date, which include shows from Natural Child, J. Burd, The Doggerels and more. So far the label’s releases have been limited, and Michael’s enthusiasm as first and foremost a die-hard fan comes through when he shares some of the major projects that are currently in the works and slated for this year.
“I have a 12″ single from JEFF the Brotherhood coming out early in 2016 as well as a live 2 x LP from their Halloween show this year. A live LP from Brother O’ Brother, who are an extremely talented duo from Indianapolis who will blow your mind and possibly your speakers. I am working with Low Cut Connie to do a live release from their set they did for Beale Street Caravan. Got some live stuff coming from Nashville punks JAWWS, these kids are loud and badass,” he says, adding, “Another project I am excited about getting out there is Cary Hudson: Fiddlers Green/Vinyl and Wine 7″. Cary is a really talented singer and songwriter from Mississippi who I have been trying to do something with since starting the label. I have been a fan of Cary’s music since his days with Blue Mountain and it’s awesome to be able to work with an artist that that I grew up listening to.”
Just like owning a record store, in today’s climate of downloads and streams taking precedent over physical albums, running a label is filled with what Tommy Michael perhaps understatedly calls “ups and downs”. There is little money to be made and to pull it off you better want it bad. Yet, labels like Shed House should instill hope in even the most jaded cynics that some people are still dedicated to capturing the essence of what makes music so special and presenting it in the ideal format.
Listen to some of Shed House’s tracks below and check them out at shedhouserecords.com.
Check out other editions of Vinyl Lives:
Is there a record store you think we should profile? Feel free to shoot your suggestions to Neil Ferguson on Twitter: !