About Sound Knowledge

The seed of wanting to own a record shop was planted early on in my teens when it first dawned on me that the fantasy of being in a band was probably not going to happen. Working in a record shop seemed the next best thing. I started nurturing the ambition to own one in my late teens whilst working at Wessex Records in Bath in 1977. It took another 16 years of manning the tills in various record stores (with a few career deviations thrown in) before I realised that dream in 1995 when Sound Knowledge opened its doors for the first time and continues to do so.

Although we arguably lean towards indie and rock, we stock all genres, so our customer base is broad both in terms of demographic and musical preference. There’s a fair amount of crossover in taste between myself and my colleagues. Sunday Joe (clue’s in the name) is a repository of alternative and underground music from the last thirty years and Sam (the new boy, having only been here a decade) has a quizzer’s breadth of knowledge, a love of jazz and a penchant for yacht rock. We’ve had a lot of support over the years from a number of locally-based musicians. Notably, the brilliant Nick Harper. Jon Amor, Sam Brookes and the Doherty brothers. We love ‘em all.

We’ve got a fantastic customer base and this has come sharply into focus during the pandemic years. The level of support we’ve received has been heart-warming. When we reopened our doors after the first lockdown, we found that so many of our customers had resisted buying anything for months, saving their wants until we reopened. Special shout out, though, for Friday Night Dave (clue’s in the name) who’s shopped with us pretty much every week for our entire history.

Good lord, no! But I can remember the first man in, who delighted in telling me that my business was doomed like every other that had preceded me on that site. Once he’d left, a lovely lady came in, bought a handful of CDs and told me that she had a good feeling about the shop and thought that I’d do alright. Hopefully we haven’t sold the last! Yard Act was one that flew out today.

I bought a few singles but got into albums almost straight away. First purchase was Neil Young’s ‘After the Gold Rush’ and I bought that at a shop called Initial Electrics in my hometown, which had a weird combination of LPs hidden among electrical accessories.

I used to frequent the Moody Blues-associated Threshold Records in Andover when I went to stay with my sister, who lived in a village just outside. Her fella had an amazing record collection and it was through his racks that I did a lot of my early listening. I always used to take great pride in returning from browsing in Threshold with a nugget that he didn’t possess.

I don’t get out much, but I’ve popped into Raves from The Grave in Frome a couple of times. That’s quite a cool shop.

Almost too many memories to mention. Huge queues turning up for Record Store Day with all of us running on empty having had virtually no sleep the night before. But many standout moments have come courtesy of the in-stores and out-stores that we’ve hosted over the last couple of decades. People still look at us with disbelief when we tell them that Ed Sheeran played for us in the café next door. He already had his first No. 1 album under his belt!

We’ve been participating in RSD since its inception and every year we think we can’t top the previous year but somehow we do. Bigger than Christmas!

Right up there has got to be Bowie, Hammersmith 2002. First time he’d played there since killing off Ziggy. Got the impression he didn’t want to come off stage. An artist on top of his game!

Bill Bryson’s ‘Short History of Nearly Everything’. An explanation of life, the universe and everything, accessible to the layman.

Struggling with these questions but have watched The Godfather Trilogy several times over the years, so I guess that’s up there.

Sorry, you might think this is a cop out but I really can’t answer this one. Just too many to choose from.

MilesMuddyMarleyMitchell (Joni that is )Little Feat ( Lowell George era)All acts that I missed but would love to have seen in their primeAlternative Stage:SquidFloating PointsLiminanasVoka GentleWH LungAcoustic Stage:Nick HarperEmily BarkerBillie MartenBirdyBears Den

Events Coming Up

After two pandemic-enforced fallow years, we're delighted to announce the return of our RSD Live event on Sunday 24th April.

We'll be presenting an extended afternoon of great live music at The Royal Oak and we can reveal this year's bumper crop!

Emily Barker - The Australian singer-songwriter is one of our most capped performers, with a string of acclaimed solo and collaborative projects to her name. Previously named Americana UK Artist of the Year, her 2020 album 'A Dark Murmuration of Words' received four-star reviews from Mojo and Uncut, while new album 'Room 822' was recorded entirely in quarantine in Australia with her partner Lukas Drinkwater.

Reuben's Daughters - the new sunny psych-pop project from Port Erin's Reuben Myles Tyghe, whose debut album 'Mami Wata' is being released on French label Microcultures Records.

Nick Harper - The inimitable Wiltshire bard's latest album 'Phantastes' was a feat of mythological alt-folk. Playing tracks from that and other favourites from his storied career.

Vertaal - Vertaal's Ajit Gill & Theo Howarth share a love of groove & improvisation, forming musical ideas traversing spiritual nu-jazz, Dilla-esque hip-hop, broken beat & neo-soul. The band have supported the likes of Mark Giuliana and Richard Spaven and have been tipped as "ones to watch" by the venerable Jazz Re:Freshed.

Carsick - The Salisbury four-piece's punk energy has made them a hit on stages across the South West, while both of their early singles have been picked up by Radio 1 and 6 Music.

Ann Liu Cannon - Formerly of this parish, singer-songwriter Ann Liu is already drawing crowds in the capital and her debut EP was produced by the legendary Ethan Johns.

Ed Witcomb - The local troubadour brings his band for a pandemic-delayed set.

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