Appleton’s independent record store, The Exclusive Company, took part in a national celebration of independently owned record stores everywhere last Saturday, March 17, dubbed “Record Store Day.” Besides the slew of new, limited- edition vinyl and CDs released in celebration of the day, the highlight of the day was an in-store performance from rising indie/ folk star and Appleton native Cory Chisel. In the scheme of things, Record Store Day hasn’t been around long – the creators only came up with the idea in 2007, and the first actual celebration happened April 19, 2008. However, the positive reception of the day has been massive, and now, every third Saturday in April, independent stores across the country celebrate with huge discounts, free gifts and in-store performances. With countless other ways to get music, be it from huge corporate stores like Best Buy or Borders or Internet outlets like iTunes or Amazon, Record Store Day is special because it celebrates the stores that carry more than “Top 40″ releases, that hire employees because of their knowledge and love for music and that create a real sense of community because they aren’t owned by an out-ofstate corporation. By clicking over to Record Store Day’s website, one truly gets a sense of the event’s scale: one page features quotes from artists ranging from Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen to Colin Meloy and Neko Case about the importance of independently owned stores in their lives and why Record Store Day is such a great way to celebrate these stores. Walking down the crowded aisles of The Exclusive Company last weekend also helped reinforce how important Record Store Day is to bands of all sizes. Rock superstar band Weezer released a special version of its new album, and indie stalwarts R.E.M. even released a previously out-of-print EP in celebration of the day. Besides these huge names, numerous other bands including Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Bon Iver, Sharon Jones & the Dap- Kings, Yeasayer and Buddy Guy graced the new releases section of The Exclusive Company. Though I ended up buying Modest Mouse’s “The Moon and Antarctica” and Ted Leo’s new 7″, I was really looking for a limited edition vinyl copy of The Hold Steady’s newest album “Heaven is Whenever.” The album doesn’t come out until next month, but they released 600 hand-numbered vinyl copies for Record Store Day. However, the real highlight of the day was an in-store performance by Cory Chisel, who said he had already been back to the store three times that day to buy records. This was my second time seeing Chisel perform, the first being last term at UW-Madison with his full band. His solo acoustic set far surpassed my expectations for the performance. Maybe it was because it was a hometown show in the record store where he bought his first CDs, maybe it was because I was unwittingly standing right next to his mom and the rest of his family from Appleton or maybe it was because of a little girl that Cory knew who danced next to him while he played, but whatever it was, I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the entire set. Chisel didn’t hit a wrong note the whole time, and he sounded strong and confident throughout his set of songs culled largely from his 2009 release, “Death Won’t Send a Letter.” However, the true power of his performance came in the way that it united the various elements of Record Store Day. Listening to Chisel play in the store where he bought “the first records that got [him] in trouble,” surrounded by family, friends and music lovers young and old was truly a special experience, and it reinforced Record Store Day’s emphasis on community. So, do yourself a favor and buy your next record at The Exclusive Company, located at 770 W. Northland Ave., Appleton, a mere ten-minute drive from campus. And if you want to hear Chisel play, his next performance will be Friday May 7 in the Chapel. More information and tickets can be found at http://www.corychisel. com.