(from a press release)
After three years of releasing records in Columbia, MO, Cavetone Records found itself at a crossroads. Its two largest acts, Wild Cat Daddies and Pat Boone’s Farm, had broken up and Columbia had little demand for an analog recording studio.
While the choice for the vinyl-only record label to leave the more populated Columbia, Mo. for Charleston, Ill. seemed curious at the time, the change in location ultimately saved the label.
“We had reached a point where we were losing ourselves,” said Chief Operating Officer Keri Cousins. “Within a year of being in Charleston, we had found ourselves again. What Cavetone also found was a lasting bond with the music and arts communities of Charleston.“
On Friday, March 27, Cavetone celebrates the seventh anniversary of their first release at Top of the Roc, 410 6th Street, in downtown Charleston.
“We could have had our anniversary show in any city where we have bands, but we insisted on having it in Charleston,” said Walus, “Without this town we would have never made it to seven years.”
The experience in Charleston has been a positive one for the label.
We meet people from all over the greater Midwest, and hardly anybody ever knows about Charleston. They always ask ‘Is that like Chicago or Champaign?'” said Scott Walus, Cavetone founder. “I always tell them, ‘Charleston is its own weird and wonderful place.’ Where else would a Domino’s Pizza go out of business and a vinyl-only record label find new success?”
Over the next four years Cavetone would build a place for live original music and release the original music on vinyl.
The free live concerts, called “Free Music Friday,” bring an average of 55 bands to Charleston each year. The records released include local artists The Ex-Bombers (Charleston) and The Tim Blys (Mattoon), as well as regional bands The Down-fi (Indianapolis) and Cedar Plank Salmon (Chicago).
From the beginning Cavetone Records had a different philosophy to releasing records, rejecting the prevailing business model. Cavetone remains a non-profit label that only releases vinyl records recorded on tape. Since 2010, their releases are exclusively analog without a digital component.
This Friday, six bands will converge from all over the Midwest to play the showcase including Coles County locals The Ex-Bombers and The Tim Blys, The Down-fi from Indianapolis, and Cedar Plank Salmon from Chicago. The night will be headlined by two unexpected reunions by way of Columbia, Mo.
Both Pat Boone’s Farm and Wild Cat Daddies will reunite for one night only. Considering the last four years of Cavetone Records, it seems particularly fitting that Charleston would bring the bands back to life, even if it is only for one night.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and music begins at 8 p.m. There is no cover charge as the showcase is also the March Free Music Friday.
Websites (performance times included)
- Event Facebook Page
- Cavetone Records
- The Tim Blys (Corn-fueled punk rock from Mattoon / 8-8:40)
- The Down-fi (Proto garage punk from Indianapolis / former Rocket from the Tombs / 8:55-9:35)
- Cedar Plank Salmon (Echo-y noise pop duo from Chicago / 9:50-10:25)
- The Ex-Bombers (Seedy beatnik pop duo from Charleston / 10:40-11:20)
- Wild Cat Daddies (Wild rock and roll from Columbia, MO / Reunion! /11:35-12:15)
- Pat Boone’s Farm (Jangly 12 string garage pop / Reunion of the first Cavetone band / 12:30-1)