The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 14, 2014

Vinyl Night puts a spin on music

By Jeffrey Allen Federowicz
For The Daily Item

— What’s old is new again in Bloomsburg as the music scene spins in a different direction thanks to a father and son with a lot of records.

The duo have amassed such a collection they have every record the Beatles produced, an impressive task. However, these vinyl fans also have the Japanese versions.

So what does one do with a collection so vast and varied it occupies an entire room? They start spinning them every Wednesday for Turkey Hill Brewing Company’s Vinyl Night.

“People love it. There have been many people who make it their Wednesday night now,” said Tony Halchak, who along with his father, Anthony, spin both 33s and 45s sized records.

“This brings back a lot of memories for the older generations and the younger generations are enjoying the uniqueness of it.”

Part of that uniqueness comes from the extensive collection of records Anthony has collected over the past 20 years that span the 1950s to the late 1980s.

“We have doo-wop, rock and roll, country and rap. My dad even has a box of records we call ‘The Moon Records’ that were sent to the NASA astronauts from artists all around the world as well-wishes during the first moon landing,” Tony said. “Some people joke they have every Beatles record. We have every one plus the Japanese versions.”

And all these vinyl disks are spun on professional equipment, not a record player purchased 40 years ago at Woolworths.

Every Wednesday father and son bring an eclectic mix of records to Turkey Hill Brewing for the 6 p.m. start of Vinyl Night in the downstairs pub.

Some Vinyl Nights will have a theme, such as hip-gyrating Elvis Night that features the King and other rockabilly artists. Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis were spun one night and on Free Spins Night, they spin a variety of tunes from any decade.

Since Vinyl Night started a few months ago, one of the most popular spins was the Motown Night that featured the best songs from that era.

“I’m a huge vinyl fan. My dad started collecting records when I was young. I’ve had it in my mind for a while now that bringing a Vinyl Night to the right venue would be fun,” Tony said. “I perform a lot as a musician at Turkey Hill so I approached the manager about the idea and he loved it.”

And so have the crowds that show up each week to hear a blast from the past.

“A friend of mine told me about the record night, so I went down with some buddies of mine before Christmas. It was a hoot,” said Chris Waltz, Muncy. “I was born in 1991, so record albums were before my time. It was great to see something that is like history for people my age or younger. I thought the songs had more dimension, sort of like another layer you don’t hear in digital.”

Although Waltz liked the sound of vinyl, he joked how difficult it would be to listen to a vinyl record while jogging or working outside.

Waltz is not alone thinking vinyl has a sound not heard on CDs or MP3, Tony concurs.

“I personally think it sounds better. I produce and engineer records for musicians so I’m always listening to the spaces and pockets in between the sound and I feel vinyl best represents that dynamic,” said Tony, who started his own vinyl collection five years ago. “It tends to be warmer which feels better with music that used to be recorded to tape which also tends to create a warmer sound than computer recording and listening.”

The Washingtonville resident also pointed out the album covers back in vinyl days had more personality and he compared buying an album to buying a piece of art you really admire.

Over the past few years vinyl has experienced a revival with a younger generation seeking used records and those of noted musicians that also release a vinyl version.

When younger people in the audience ask Anthony why he collects records that require large equipment and occupy an entire room, his reply is simple but accurate.

“You can hop in a 2007 Ford Focus and take a drive through the countryside or do it in a 1967 Chevelle,” Anthony said. “Which one is going to be more fun?”

While there is a generation between father and son, the age difference doesn’t have an impact on what era they play since both men love all types of music.

“We aren’t DJs in the traditional sense. I’m not up there scratching the records and bopping my head up and down,” Tony said. “We are just huge music nerds that have a lot of records to share.”