STACK‘s Roving Reporter stops in at JB Hi-Fi Bayside Frankston store to chat music with Music Coordinator and JB vetera of 29 years, Dave Blewett.
“He’s a weird-lookin’ cat to me, because he actually looks like he’s from that time period, the way he dresses,” says Dave Blewett. “We play him in-store, and people say ‘Is that Sam Cooke?’ And you say, ‘No, it’s a new guy! Leon Bridges!’ You can introduce someone to something they think’s been around for 50 years, but it’s only been around for 12 months.”
The Music Coordinator and JB veteran of 29 years – with a total of 39 years in music retail, all up – takes huge pleasure in talking music (and footy) with the customers of JB Bayside Frankston, and the regulars always approach him with “that old saying: What’s new, what’s good?” The store doesn’t yet have a vinyl section, but it certainly hasn’t slowed the sale of your trusty compact disc – and Dave has a few theories as to why. “There’s band loyalty,” he says, “especially if [the band is] local; customers know the money goes back towards the band. I think it’s also that they want to take something to get signed. One of the young kids that comes in here and follows a lot of the alt- stuff, he said that when a local band puts out an album, if it was found out another fan had downloaded it rather than bought a physical copy, they’d be shunned! Because they’re not supporting the band – they’re not giving the band a little bit of those royalties back through actual sales.”
There’s also the issue of production credits, which are detailed on a CD’s liner notes. “[A listener] might find that they like the guitar style on a certain person’s solo album, and they want to know, ‘Okay, what else has that person done?’ You can see the producers, who’s playing certain instruments, and you’ve got a starting point to then go on the internet and research.”
“The physical copy is the source of a huge amount of information, for someone who wants to expand their knowledge on a sound that they like.”
Dave’s a fan of “new music that sounds like old music” – like Leon Bridges, and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats – but when it comes to recommendations he always keeps an open mind. “That’s one of the satisfying things of retail – when people walk out with a couple of CDs in their hand that you know they’re really going to like, and they’re going to play over and over,” he says. “There’s nothing better than walking out with something you didn’t intend going in for, and getting it home and going, ‘This is the best thing!’ – it’s just great to find something new.”