Raven Records Turns 30, Outlasts Predictions
For Some, Love of Vinyl Never Faded. Raven Records going strong from 1985 Start
By: Raven Records and Rarities
If you were someone who bet, who would you have guessed would still be around 30 years later? New Coke is long since gone, but Raven Records…now Raven Records and Rarities…is still going strong.
The public that killed New Coke helped Raven Records survive.
“People develop a strong emotional connection with music they love,” said Raven Records founder and owner Jay Nations. “And to a lot of music lovers, there is just something special about vinyl…the sound, the album cover, the physical experience of putting it on a turntable. It’s all special.”
30 years. Raven and vinyl have outlasted predictions of their demise. Nations came to a personal parting of ways with vinyl after a rise and eventual fall after 10 years of retail shop on Cumberland Ave. After a few years working for Metro Pulse, he eased back in, selling on eBay, then Amazon, as well as hitting the road doing record shows from NYC to Austin, and also placing LPs in consignment shops around Knoxville. Lowering overhead, being true to what he really likes, has made Raven sustainable.
At 30, it’s stronger than ever. That is true, in part, to expanding from just records to other memorabilia as well, thanks to Nation’s longtime friend and now business partner Jack Stiles. The two merged their businesses into one store: Raven Records and Rarities now located at 1200 North Central in Knoxville.
“Jay and I first met through the University of Tennessee,” said Stiles. “I was both going to school and working for UT Student Activities. We met when Jay was still a student. Raven later did some promotional events, like movies, with UTSA. We clicked and have been friends ever since, business partners for many years.”
Raven is celebrating its 30th in a big way with a two night party at their neighbor Relix Variety Theater at 1208 North Central. On April 15th it’s one movie for each decade of Raven, starting at 7 with The Curse, which was shot in Knoxville and stars David Keith, and followed by Evil Dead and cult classic Blue Velvet. On April 16th it’s a music night, also starting at 7 and featuring Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere, Tina Tarmac and the Burns as well as Itchy and the Tater Tots.
“We hope to see a lot of old friends and make some new ones,” says Nations. “It should be a great way to kick off our second 30 years.”
Media Note: Both Jay Nations and Jack Stiles are available for interviews, print or broadcast. All Raven 30th anniversary events are open for media coverage. And we buy, sell trade; vinyl and pop culture collectibles.