Happy 20th Birthday, Shake It Records

The essential Cincinnati record shop celebrates 20 years in Northside with performances and sales all month long

click to enlarge Shake It Records' Northside storefront - PHOTO: MIKE SPITZ
Photo: Mike Spitz
Shake It Records' Northside storefront

March marks the 20th anniversary of Cincinnati's Shake It Records, the Northside record store (and more) that many consider one of the best in the country.

Co-founded and co-owned by brothers Jim and Darren Blase, Shake It first opened its doors in Northside in 1999; two years later — on, of all dates, Sept. 11, 2001 — the store moved into its current location at 4156 Hamilton Ave.

Shake It — which, along with used and new vinyl and CDs, also stocks an eclectic mix of books, magazines, T-shirts and various tchotchkes and other esoterica — began as a record label. Jess Hirbe and Daryl "Doc" Kalmus founded the Shake It label in the late ’70s to release music by Cincinnati-area artists like The Customs. Darren Blase — the "Sam Phillips of Cincinnati" — revived it (with the founders' blessing) in 1993, releasing a 7-inch single by Cincy Garage Rock greats The Mortals. The Shake It label is still a thriving indie imprint, home to one of the area's most acclaimed bands, Wussy, and also an outlet for ambitious re-issue projects for long out-of-print local classics. (Check out the label offerings here.)

Shake It, the store, is also home to a permanent exhibit dedicated to the region's music scene.

Throughout March, Shake It will host various live in-store performances to celebrate turning the big 2-0, beginning next Saturday (March 9) with Soul Step Records night, featuring performances from local artists who've released music through the Cincinnati-based label: Audley, This Pine Box, Young Heirlooms and Krystal Peterson. The fun starts at 7 p.m.

The live music continues Friday, March 22, with an appearance by Cincinnati rockers Frontier Folk Nebraska at 7 p.m. FFN is fresh off of a tour that included dates at the annual South By Southwest music showcase/conference in Austin, Texas.

On Saturday (March 23) at 7 p.m., Shake It will host artists from the roster of SofaBurn Records, the Northern Kentucky-based label that has issued acclaimed albums by The Tillers, Lung, the aforementioned A Delicate Motor and many others local and out-of-town acts. Saturday’s in-store showcase will feature Country singer/songwriter Jeremy Pinnell, Folk artist and former Sub Pop recording artist Daniel Martin Moore and R. Ring, the duo project that features Mike Montgomery (Ampline) and Kelley Deal (The Breeders).

Shake It’s 20th-anniversary performances wrap up with a pair of local Roots acts. The Country crew Joe’s Truck Stop (led by Tillers fiddler Joe Macheret) plays March 29, while singer/songwriter Maria Carrelli — whose new album Strings On My Guitar will be released on April 12 — performs at Shake It on March 30.

Click here for more on Shake It's 20th-anniversary events.

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