Josey Records is About to Be a Music Venue, Too

Josey Records is slowly building its way to being more than a record store
Josey Records is slowly building its way to being more than a record store
Kathy Tran

With 15,500 square feet of floor space and 100,000 records, Josey Records is more affordable and less boutique than many other record stores. In fact, it's already the most ambitious record store in Dallas. It has a DJ booth with a weekend DJ series, which has quickly made it a local connection to the family of the Dallas DJ scene. Josey Records also has an art gallery and now a stage and sound system.

Now with the help of Moody Fuqua, general manager and talent buyer at Crown & Harp, the store is set start hosting full-on live band performances.

See also: Can Josey Records Become Dallas' Iconic Record Store? Crown & Harp's Owners Have Seen a Lifetime of Changes in 18 Years on Lower Greenville

Fuqua, who grew up not far from where Josey is now located, will be "talent buyer or events coordinator or music liaison" (he hates labels) for weekend shows. The brand new stage on the LBJ will host its first show in February.

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Shows were planned from the beginning. On the wall opposite the DJ booth, the large Josey Records logo created by Dallas visual designer Orly Angelo was always meant to be a backdrop for the stage. This will provide good brand representation and free advertising in countless cellphone pictures and videos of performers uploaded to social media.

Owners Luke Sardello, Waric Cameron and JT Donaldson are all DJs who naturally appreciate any music genre and the same can be said for Fuqua, who also brings a great deal of experience with music events. The Dallas music scene is genuinely local, enormous, diverse and filled with talent in a way that few other cities enjoy. In this setting, a new venue that welcomes any genre is a blessing and you have to wonder what Fuqua will do with it.

At this point Crown & Harp, led by Fuqua, is basically the Whitney Biennial of Dallas clubs, giving brand new, lesser-known artists a place to do whatever the fuck they want to glorious effect. Eclectic curators like Stefan González often showcase performers that you can't recognize or seem to categorize. But the sounds are ultramodern, frequently shocking and magnificent. Like the contemporary art exhibition that combines different types of artists, the bi-weekly An LBJ Experience showcases artists from different genres, commingling different types of performers and different types of fans.

Crown & Harp is one of the best cultural melting pots in Dallas-Fort Worth and it will be interesting to see what Fuqua does with a stage in a giant record store. "There's lots of ideas," he says. "It's all brand new right now." Indeed, he just found out less than a week ago that he would be involved. Fuqua's involvement was not initially planned, but discussed after he worked with Josey Records owner JT Donaldson on the DOMA-winning "Fresh 45s" series at Crowne & Harp. The initial plan was for JT Donaldson to coordinate events, but it eventually made more sense to have one person focus on shows.

"It will definitely showcase local talent," says Fuqua. He also wants to work with promoters bringing national touring acts to Dallas in order to arrange DJ sets, feature new albums and perhaps host autograph sessions. The initial plan is to have afternoon shows on weekends and possibly early evening shows on Fridays. "What it becomes I can't tell you," Fuqua says with a shrug. "But I can tell you it's going to be cool." This seems to sum up what is very clear: that everyone involved will make Josey Records a destination spot by any means necessary.

Josey Records also installed a kick-ass sound system a few days after hiring Fuqua. Another local connection of the family of the Dallas DJ scene, Crossroads Audio, provided the sound. "That place is where you go to get anything fixed, where you can go buy nice PA equipment that you're not going to find at the big stores," says Fuqua. Indeed, Josey purchased high-end, 1600-watt European speakers from Klein + Hummel. "As far as I know they are one of few if not the only people with these speakers in the U.S.A.," says DJ Ladd Biggs from Crossroads Audio, who outfitted the sound. "Ladd doesn't fuck around," adds Fuqua. "It will be competitive to any system in any club in the city."

Joel Salazar, founder of Too Fresh Productions and fellow organizer of the Fresh 45's night, will also take part. "He has great ideas," says Fuqua, "and I love his passion." Salazar has some ideas specifically for Josey Records and he is also great at hosting shows.

"One thing I appreciate about this is that it gives me the opportunity to do some shows that kids can see," says Fuqua, who is used to 21 and over shows at Crown & Harp. With a pulse on the community, Fuqua and Salazar even have ideas for events that would be for the entire family. With a DJ booth, a venue, an art gallery, and a library of records in these vinyl-crazed times, Josey is poised to become a new culture hub for Dallas.


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