Weatherford Democrat


December 7, 2009

Beat goes on at landmark Texas record store

SAN MARCOS, Texas (AP) — Before there was hip-hop, before there was hair metal and grunge rock, before there was iTunes, there was Sundance.

Doubling as both a record store and a makeshift music history museum, Sundance Records — sandwiched between a Subway and other shops in a strip across from Texas State University — is among the oldest continually operating music stores in Central Texas.

While not quite as famous as Austin's Waterloo Records, it's older by a good five years and could give Waterloo a run for its money in terms of character. In the words of owner and founder Bobby Barnard, Sundance is a place where you can immerse yourself in music.

If the store has walls or ceilings, you can't see them. Nearly every inch — including the front door — is covered in album covers, posters, band fliers and newspaper clippings. It's a place where music and history intertwine, where a poster of Johnny Cash faces a Statesman front page story about the Gulf War and a doctored photo of President Lyndon Johnson rolling a joint.

Barnard also has a shrine to Jimi Hendrix, whom he met after sneaking into Hendrix's Dallas hotel room at age 14.

Then there's the "Door of Death" — obituaries on musicians and artists who have died. Over the years the door has expanded to cover the wall around it, and while it features a few big names like Selena and Jerry Garcia, it has many more articles on lesser-known musicians, including jazz drummer Elvin Jones — but not Michael Jackson. Barnard often culls the obits from the artists' home cities to make it more authentic, he said.

"Music is great because of nostalgic moments," Barnard said. "The stuff you like may not be good music, but it's special to you."

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