Last week, Classic Waxxx Records announced the new Dallas-based label's first release, a candy apple red 7-inch vinyl from John Paul Smith & the Coal Creek Boys out of Alberta, Canada. They also announced a whopper of a second release: one of the greatest songs ever written by Lightnin' Hopkins.
Joining the ranks of other noteworthy Dallas labels, the startup is promising to deliver some ridiculously interesting, collector-pleasing wax. As the name suggests, Kimbrell says his hand-numbered Classic Waxxx imprint will focus on pressing vinyl-only reissues of classic, out-of-print singles and full lengths, as well as original artists that fit the label's tastes.
Though this is Kimbrell's first foray into releasing recordings, he's been noticeably entrenched in the local music scene for several years. Unless someone is new to the Dallas area, then there's a good chance you've already bought or at least seen one of Kimbrell's hand-printed designs in an area bar, venue, record store window or theater marquee. His printing studio, Napkins Art Studio, has screen printed limited-edition posters, prints, cards and T-shirts for the likes of locals such as the Old 97's, Sarah Jaffe and the Polyphonic Spree, as well as touring acts ranging from Glass Candy to Sleigh Bells to Built to Spill. He also designed a series of eye-catching, 3D-looking billboards for Good Records.
During an interview with the Observer in the summer of 2012, Kimbrell mentioned that "one day" he wanted to start a record label. He's been collecting vinyl for more than a decade. The Classic Waxxx name came from a blog-cum-Tumblr that Kimbrell has posted to regularly for a couple of years featuring album art, commentary and occasional tracks from rare releases from his collection. But he says he really got "bit by the vinyl bug" in 2012 while pouring over copies of Preteen Zenith's Rubble Guts and BB Eye at A&R Records. (Kimbrell designed one of the album's covers.)
After it's debut release from John Paul Smith, the label's second pressing is slated to be Lightnin' Hopkins's incredible "Shake That Thing," with "Sometimes She Will" as the B-side.
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"The whole reason I wanted to start a label was to release things that I love," Kimbrell says, specifically mentioning Hopkins' Texas roots. "He's a Texas artist and that was important to me."
The initial releases will be limited to 300 copies and come in silk-screened jackets made by Napkin Arts. "I like the approach being small batch," he says, adding that he isn't out to "flood the market" with an "unmanageable" amount of releases.
When announcing the release on his band's blog, Smith wrote: "When we saw what Jonathon Kimbrell and Classic Waxxx were ramping up to do in Dallas, Texas, we got excited and reached out right away. I mean, a real vinyl collector who has experience with the entire process starting his own label? Sold."
Smith is known to be an avid vinyl collector. And, clearly, Kimbrell and Smith aren't the only ones with "the vinyl bug." On the first day CWR001 was up for presale, Kimbrell saw orders from as far away as Australia, Wales, New Zealand, Canada and across the U.S.