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Keepin' It Local: Boise man shows us why holding a vinyl, cassette or CD in hand really rocks!

Iconic Boise record store owner molds music lovers for decades and generations to come

BOISE, Idaho — Technology has changed our world. Including the world of music. The way we discover music and artist, how we listen…even how we purchase music has all evolved with the invention of the internet. While some appreciate the convenience of online, others said we are missing a large part of the ‘art.’

Owner of the iconic Boise music store, ‘The Record Exchange,’ Micheal Bunnell, argued that there is still great relevancy to shopping for music locally. Bunnell is also the co-founder of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores and said, “I think it (the Record Exchange) is a place where different cultures and people with different backgrounds can meet and share a passion. It has a place in any community in the country.”

To him (and many others), music is more than just clipped sound bites, it is an experience, an experience that you get when seeing album art, a tour poster or when you hold a vinyl, cassette or CD in hand.  

Bunnell opened ‘The Record Exchange” in 1977. “I had always been a music fan. I moved up from California during the ‘Summer of Love.’ I was a huge music fan, particularly of the West Coast bands and there was a big hole here in the market at that time, especially for a used record store. We soon graduated to selling new products too,” said Bunnell.

Over four decades later the store still service as a place of inspiration and a celebration of art, “It sort of helps base the music business and the music culture in the city and that’s how a lot people who come to this store feel. It is home base and a lot of stuff springboards off-of it,” said Bunnell. Stuff like supporting touring and local artists with in-store performances. “We’ve literally had thousands of artists on our stage. They’re all special in their own way. Josh Ritter performs in here regularly. It goes on and on. We’ve had some amazing talent here,” boasted Micheal Bunnell.

It is all a part of the experience Bunnell hopes people have when they walk through the door, “We want people to feel amused. We want them to have a good time and feel at home and not be intimidated. We try to help them break through those barriers and find stuff they can be passionate about and artists they can believe in. We think it is an important role. We are sort of gate keepers here,” defined Bunnell

Perhaps ‘gate keepers’ of an art experience that will ‘rock-on’ for decades to come.

See all the 'Keepin' It Local' segments in our YouTube playlist here: