Underground Sounds heads to Barret Avenue after 24 years


After 24 years in the Highlands, an iconic Louisville music spot is closing up shop. But customers don’t have to worry.

The record store, Underground Sounds, is only moving a few blocks away — to one of the fastest growing spots in the city.

record shop
Underground Sounds opened in the Highlands in 1996. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Owner Craig Rich said he’s turned in the keys over at 2003 Highland Avenue, the store’s original spot, and the new store at 1006 Barret Avenue is starting to shape up.

Although it’s not easy starting over, the boom on Barret avenue, Rich hopes, will reinvigorate business.

“I was about 15 or 16 when I first started coming here,” longtime customer Nick Jones said. “They turned me onto the Grateful Dead, my favorite band, opened up a whole new world.”

Customers came during the store’s last few days to reminisce about what this counter-culture outlaw record store gave to them.

“A 17-year-old kid came up to me and said, ‘You know my mom and dad met at one of your midnight sales,’ and I said wow, that does something to you,” Rich said.

Rich has been ingrained in music-loving Louisvillians memories since opening Underground Sounds in 1996, and he’s been marching to the beat of his own drum ever since.

“We’re not about the top 20 stuff, or the top 40 stuff, or even the stuff that gets played on the radio 15 times a day,” Rich said. “It was about educating people with good music.”

Rich says it’s time to face the music, however.

“Underground Sounds on the side street are just not matched up anymore,” Rich said. “There’s no stores on this strip that feed off of me and vice versa anymore. You’ve got two hair salons, a couple office buildings.”

Underground Sounds
The record store hopes to thrive along the popular strip of Barret Avenue. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

The record man is heading back to a more bohemian feel, finding a spot on Barret Avenue, where a variety of different stores and restaurants have suddenly popped up.

“The more I looked at it, I was like there’s only one thing missing in this strip,” Rich said.

Even though the location is changing, the song remains the same.

“You do it for the love of the art,” Rich said. “Record stores have always been part of the community, historically speaking. Hopefully there’s going to be enough of us to survive.”

Rich said he hopes to have everything in place by Saturday in the new store. Keep checking the Underground Sounds’ Facebook page for updates.

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