UPDATE: As of publication Sherwood’s Music has officially changed its name to Heyday Musical Instruments & Repair and is now open for business at its new location at 108 N. Lexington Avenue.
“I had to tell David Byrne his credit card was declined,” says Charles Gately, co-owner of Sherwood’s Music. These things happen when your music store is known for having rare and vintage equipment. Byrne, the former Talking Heads frontman, eventually resolved his bank issues and took home a 12-string Rickenbacker guitar during his 2013 Asheville tour stop. Gately says having a famous musician in the midst of regular customers is a fairly common occurrence at the store.
Gately and Brian Landrum recently purchased Sherwood’s Music from its namesake, Matthew Sherwood, who wanted time to pursue other interests. Landrum is a veteran musician who has worked at The Grey Eagle and Echo Mountain Recording Studio, where he and Sherwood started repairing music equipment in 2010. Landrum says after about a year, they had outgrown the available space and opened Sherwood’s Music in 2011. Gately has also been with the store since its beginnings. He’s is a seasoned musician, currently playing with the Asheville-based band Doc Aquatic.
With the change of ownership also comes a change in location. The store is in the process of relocating to Lexington Avenue, a move the owners say will give them significantly more foot traffic than the current Patton Avenue location. Landrum believes the move will also allow them to be a bigger part of the community. “I do repair work all day, and I have my share of people who visit and talk while I work,” he says. “I love that. We want to foster a barbershop feel.”
Like any barbershop worth its salt, the store has plenty of stories about famous and notable clientele who have made a point to visit while in town. Landrum and Gately recall the story of Jack White arranging an after-hours visit to purchase an amplifier. Other famous musicians and bands who have stopped by include St. Vincent, Alabama Shakes, War On Drugs, Zac Brown Band, Dawes, White Denim, Ed Helms and Kid Koala. Landrum attributes the celebrity draw to word-of-mouth and having friends at Echo Mountain and Moog Music who tip off visiting musicians about Sherwood’s Music’s horde of vintage guitars, amplifiers and other equipment. Landrum also says that bands recording in the area often need repairs, noting White Denim dropped off an amplifier and, “I guess I did [the repair] well and quickly and then got about six more from the band.”
The new owners want to create a welcoming environment for everyone from novices to veterans. “There’s an element to music stores that can come across like used-car salesmen sometimes, so we want to be very open and friendly and honest,” Landrum says. “More of a mom and pop shop.”
Gately adds that many of the vintage items the store carries are often only seen online. “People appreciate being able to walk in and touch an item they’ve always been curious about.” He says his and Landrum’s experience as musicians also allows them to give advice: “We’ve seen what breaks and what works. And I’ll tell people when we don’t have what they’re looking for.”
The owners say the new location will give the store more open space and are excited about being closer to other members of the local music scene like Moog Music and Static Age Records. Sherwood’s Music — which, in addition to sales and repairs, offers consignment options — will be located at 108 N. Lexington Ave. with tentative plans to be open the first week of February.
Learn more at sherwoodsmusic.com.