Photograph by Venera Alexandrova
Vinyl street cafE is celebrating one year in Fairfield. Not exactly the hub of emerging trends in the music industry, outside of John Mayer, but also not caught in the Dark Ages. If anything, the café has found the sweet spot, finding its groove in the resurgence of vinyl records. Decades ago, the industry crashed under the pressure of CDs, then completely evaporated as digital downloads and streaming options made records irrelevant. Almost irrelevant. Some audiophiles proclaim the superior sound of authentic vinyl records over digital files, and others simply want to swim in the nostalgia of earlier decades, like the ’60s and ’70s.
In 2015 NPR reported that nine million vinyl records were sold in the United States. Not bad for a “dead” industry. While that figure was “just a sliver of total album sales,” Lydia Emmanouilidou reported, it kept record-pressing plants busy. Vinyl was officially trending. She noted that only sixteen such plants were active countrywide. Jay Miller of United Record Pressing in Nashville said his plant was operating twenty-four hours a day, six days a week. Today, Gotta Groove Records, which also presses records, lists twenty-two places—an upbeat uptick.
Back in 2015, Joshua Wright moved to Fairfield. He has long loved the sound of vinyl and has a taste for coffee (he learned the time-honored craft as a barista in Westport). He was selling records online and was quick to sense the increased demand. Within a year, he opened his record store in town. The coffee was more than just a perk, it added a listening-lounge quality to the business. Soak in the vibe at 1895 Post Road (vinylstreetcafe.com).