The end of village

Village Music, Mill ValleyIn most racks of records, it was the same albums over and over… but Village Music took a more intimate approach to inventory becoming important to many in the music business and cherished in its community.

B.B. King brought his bus several hundred miles after a performance in Nevada to spend a few hours shopping here.

Top artists from around the world stopped here, and many of the legends of California music such as Ry Cooder, Santana, Bobby Weir, Bonnie Raitt. Even the continental Mick Jagger. Click here for a larger version of this grand picture.

Now stars and fans are saying a bluesy goodbye to a great, great record store.

Village Music in Mill Valley, California is closing after fifty years, along with thirty-five percent of America’s small record stores that have closed since 2003.

Mill Valley's famous Sweetwater SaloonI lived in Mill Valley and spent years enjoying the downtown village culture.

I crafted a retail store across the street from Village Music that sold only custom and used blue jeans, built a stunning nursery store called ‘The Park at Old Brown’s’, plus an espresso cafe nearby known as the “Be Here Now Cafe” – way ‘a-head’ of its time.

It took awhile to find a willing old barn before I brought a truckload of weathered redwood planks to hammer on the walls of the Sweetwater Saloon.

One of the most well-known and relaxed music establishments in the USA, unless outside the door when a famous group or rock star came to town, the Sweetwater desparately needs help – a surprise 30-day lease termination after 30 years of paying rent!

“Bottom line is, I can’t pay the rent here.”
Northern California village culture has taken a beating from development pressures, perhaps more than any similar region as San Francisco quickly and without notice became a global financial center. Local folks in Marin County have paid skyrocketing prices that today only a mono-culture of the very rich can comfortably afford.