Hear the crackling and popping? Chances are it may be coming from a vinyl album playing in store at the soon-to-open MorningBell Records & Studios in Fondren. Yes, Jackson will once again have a record store, interestingly enough, about a block from where Bebop began. “We just think every town needs a record store”, says Drew McKercher, a 31 year old Vicksburg native who, along with wife Sara, will open MorningBell by mid March. He cites the closing of the aforementioned Jackson music store staple as “unfortunate” and the spur that pushed him and his wife to sign the lease last week at Duling Hall.
Not only will you find vinyl – new and used – at MorningBell, but CDs, including new releases and lots of local music. “There should be a place to get good local music without having to chase bands around”, Drew tells us, adding that local will be a focus. And, they are working with several labels and a major distributor to have all kinds of music on hand including hip hop, country, pop, rock and the like. He says the shop, in the soon-to-be former Silly Billy’s location (they are moving to Mitchell Avenue) will also have arcade games, beer and boutique sodas. And maybe boutique candy, kind of like the old Fondren Beverage Emporium? “Yeah, that’s kind of where we got our inspiration for that”, Drew adds.
Add to this a recording studio and a space for in store performances. Drew feels there needs to be a consistent space for national touring bands to play in Fondren and is working with a promoter who is already ready to bring in several bands from Brooklyn, New York. Larger scale shows may be in Duling Hall next door. And those shows will be 7 or 8pm shows. “We have a kid” Drew says. “We understand”. Tentative store hours are Monday through Saturday 10am – 7pm and later on performance nights.
As musicians themselves, the McKerchers are no strangers to the Jackson music scene. Their original Jackson band was Roosevelt Noise. Currently, Drew plays with Frank & the Meltones, Spacewolf, Hinges and both Drew and Sara play for Ice For Eagles. “Local is definitely a push” and MorningBell is soliciting local bands to contact them via Facebook if you would like your merchandise to be carried in store.
Update: The store has posted March 30 as the grand opening weekend.