Josh Ritter and Record Store Day 

Saturday, April 17, marks the third-annual celebration of a place whose existence--or lack thereof--is often seen as a measure of a community's health. It's Record Store Day.

Back when the record and the cassette were the preferred delivery mediums for our music, we wandered through record stores looking for the album that held our favorite radio single. While there, we also often met new people who either shared our love of a band or who introduced us to something new.

Record stores have changed as much as we have. They are now full of CDs, digital download cards, movies, T-shirts, toys ... changes for the better. But they still serve as community centers of sorts, places we go to find people of our ilk.

This year, the Record Store Day celebration at Record Exchange is particularly special: Homegrown talent Josh Ritter, who has a new album scheduled to hit store shelves on Tuesday, May 4, will perform live. The extra cool thing about this is that not only is Ritter flying in just for the show--his only one in town--but also that Record Exchange will have advance copies of Ritter's new release So Runs the World Away available on vinyl (which comes with a CD). Anyone who pre-orders Ritter's new album prior to April 17 (goes on sale Tuesday, April 13) at Record Exchange will get a wristband. At about 5 p.m. on Record Store Day, store management will shoo everyone out, and then the wristbanded horde will be allowed inside first for Ritter's performance.

"If there's any room left, we'll open it up to everyone," Record Exchange's Joy Hart said wryly. Remember how this is Ritter's only performance in town? In other words, the store will probably be packed, so don't expect to get in sans wristband.

In other Record Store Day news, some of the releases that will be available exclusively on that day are exciting as well as extremely limited. There will be music from Ani DiFranco, Beach House, Black Keys, Built To Spill, Citizen Cope, Elvis Presley (seriously), Devo, Jimi Hendrix (seriously), La Roux, Monsters of Folk, Wilco, Velvet Underground, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols (seriously, seriously, seriously) and hundreds more. Not all releases are available at all record stores and the limited quantities are shared by all of them, so if you're super excited about something, don't futz around on Record Store Day. Get in and get your treasures before they're plundered by someone else.

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