By Macey Uzzell
Beethoven or the Beatles? James May recommends both. In fact, May can recommend dozens of songs, albums, and bands to listen to. But this makes sense as May’s life has revolved around music since he was a teenager. Shortly after highschool in 1979, he decided to make an idea reality and opened his own record store in Spring, Texas. More than 35 years later, May still works at Music Town, helping his customers one on one, digging through stacks of records, cassettes and CDs to find that special song.
When May was a kid there weren’t many music stores near him. Perhaps that is because no one thought a music store would get business and that no one was interested. But that certainly isn’t the case for Music Town, and May is now running a sanctuary for all his music-loving customers. “I’ve been coming here ever since I was in 6th grade,” Johnathan Profoto said in a review of the store, “Even back then, James (the Owner) always helped me get what I wanted. Whatever you’re looking for, he will help you get. No questions asked.” Despite Johnathan’s age, May says his customers are generally between the ages of 13-65, all wanting something different in the sea of vinyl, DVDs, CDs, and cassettes that occupy the store. “Music Town has very diverse customers,” May explains.
Even so, one big trend right now is records, coveted by all ages, even among young folk who never grew up with them. In fact, according to Forbes Media and Entertainment, “There are countless reasons why vinyl is superior to any other music listening format, but above all comes the fidelity, romanticism, and ritualistic nature of the experience.” This trend definitely works to Music Town’s advantage. “Bought a record player recently-only had one record,” one review states, “Tons of records here. Walked out with about ten.”
As a teen, May was a fan of Chicago, Linda Ronstadt, Triumvirat, The Who and ‘hundreds more’ he recounts. May wanted to open his own music store while he was still in highschool, but it wasn’t until a few years later that he actually did it. To this day his shop remains a stand-alone, but that makes May’stime more flexible.
When asked for song recommendations, he has a hard time limiting himself to one or two. He’ll make a list of about 17, complete with the artists, and album names, ranging from Bruno Mars, to Beethoven, to Bob Dylan. His store keeps people musically connected with the past by the classics, the present by the currents, and influences the future of music by allowing our upcoming musicians, singers, and dancers to have a taste of former musical hits.
May’s store keeps old and new music alive and available for everyone. It suits everyone’s comfort zone and adventurous side, long-time and recent interests, and is a great place to explore one’s inner music-loving self. “If they love music, then they should find out what it’s all about.”