GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - It may seem like deja vu walking into Triple Play Records where it feels somewhat reminiscent of the 1970s."One of our customers said it's like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket coming in here," owner Rock Cesario said, referring to that bygone-era feel. Or, it's simply a hip store to the young college crowd, among those who frequent the store these days - thanks in part to Cesario's 23-year old son Matthew, who works at the shop alongside his father.Incense wafts out onto the sidewalk as you walk by the store entrance at 530 Main St. in downtown Grand Junction. Tie-dye clothing, posters and bumper stickers are among the many items you'll find at the store, along with a large collection of CDs and vinyl record albums. A colorful assortment of frisbee-golf discs sits in racks along an inside brick wall. Knitted hacky sacks are on the counter. Triple Play is celebrating 25 years of business in May - having withstood the onslaught of corporate chain stores that have driven out many independent, locally owned record shops nationwide.Cesario, 55, said he was inspired to open the shop when he heard years ago that music companies were planning to phase out vinyl record albums. "Vinyl got quiet in the late '80s, early '90s. There was not much vinyl coming out," Cesario said. That's changed, however, and vinyl record albums are popular again."There's everything (on vinyl) from Incubus, the Black Keys, to the new Bob Dylan album 'Tempest,'" Cesario said. His inventory has never been based on the top 10 commercial radio hits. "I've ignored the top 40 for 25 years," Cesario said. "I bring in the kind of music that endures. People will be listening to Miles Davis, John Coltrane, the Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd, the Doors, and, of course, the Beatles - real classic rock stuff, long after we're gone."Those are the ones that every generation wants."However, Cesario's not stuck in the past. At the shop you'll find the works of newer artists like the Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Mumford and Sons. Since 1990, Cesario has shared his musical expertise while programming a weekly radio show called "Acoustic Sunday" on Drive 105.3 FM. He's shared that DJ position at times with former Grand Junction Mayor Jim Spehar and Sandstone Entertainment promoter Ron Wilson.Cesario also supports Community Radio Station KAFM with underwriting, and by volunteering during on-air membership drives and giving away CDs for premiums during the fund drives.Occasionally, Triple Play will host a live, in-store concert with a local group such as Stray Grass or Jack + Jill. Texas singer-songriters, like Kevin Welch and Darden Smith, have also performed in the shop.Indie folksinger Michelle Shocked stopped by the store and signed autographs, he said. Triple Play was located for three years at 419 Main St., followed by a 15-year stint at 525 Main St. In 2006, the shop relocated to its current location, 530 Main St.Downtown Grand Junction is one of my favorite places on the Western Slope, Cesario said."I grew up down here. It's still fun to come to work after 25 years."
On Monday, Matthew Cesario was busy pricing and re-stocking albums in anticipation of International Record Store Day that falls this year on Saturday, April 20. During International Record Day, "exclusive releases" are made available only at independent record stores. The recordings will not be found at chain stores.Some of those exclusive releases include colored vinyl records, re-issues of classic record albums, and live recordings of shows, previously unreleased, Matthew said.A Ringo Starr set of three 45 rpm records; raw cuts from new rock and roll artist Gary Clark Jr.; and a new, three-LP set of The Band's "The Last Waltz," a classic that's been out of print for the past decade are examples of the exclusive releases that will be for sale.On Saturday, several local bands will perform at the store throughout the day. So far, the lineup includes Miss Emily, the Low Lands, No Cash Value, and Zolopht and the Destroyers. Visit Triple Play on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TriplePlayRecords. The store can also be reached by calling 970-243-3974. For more information on Record Store Day, visit www.recordstoreday.com.