top of page

Record Store Spotlight: Sessions Vinyl Room, Cincinnati, OH

Tucked away down a quiet side street just steps away from the busy main road in Cincinnati's Oakley neighborhood sits Sessions Vinyl Room, a hidden paradise for vinyl lovers. Featuring a comfortable listening lounge, craft beer carry-out, and more, Sessions has a lot to offer. Read on below to learn more!

SofaBurn: Can you tell me a bit about yourself? i.e. What got you into music? Have you always wanted to operate a record store? 

Brad Schadler: I got into music at an early age.  I was very much an introvert and spent hours listening to the radio.  We lived in the country, so music was really my escape out into the world and a big part of shaping the person I became. My parents had a turntable/8-Track console that  I was completely fascinated with.  My parents weren’t huge music fans, so what we mostly had was Christmas and Classical albums.  We had one of those turntables, you could stack records on and when the album would finish, the next one would drop down and start automatically.  As a child, it was magical.  The first albums I ever bought on my own though were Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Quiet Riot’s Mental Health in 1983.  From there, I was completely obsessed.  I was into everything really.  Unless, you grew up in the 80s, I don’t think you can fully understand it.  This was the era of hair metal and the birth of MTV, that brought us the second wave of the British Invasion with the likes of Duran Duran, Howard Jones and Bow Wow Wow.  It was truly an amazing time for music!  Before the internet you really only found new artists by listening to your local radio station.  When MTV hit, you were now being exposed to artists all over the country and around the world.  Not only that, you now had a way of putting a face to the music and really getting to know the artists.  It really connected that generation to  bands and their music on a completely different level.  

Of course, I always dreamed of working at a record store. I would spend hours at my local record shop and annoy the hell out of them. I was in the Corporate world for 30 years , just absolutely miserable.  Back in December, the record shop that was previously here became available. Nathan, the new owner and long time friend of mine asked if I would be interested in running it and I didn’t even think twice.  I love listening and talking about music and now I get paid to do what I love.  You can’t beat it. It’s fun passing on my knowledge to the younger generation, but I learn just as much from them as they do from me.  

SB: What is your favorite record store? How did your experiences there shape what you do now and your tastes?

BS: Ha, well of course my favorite record store is Sessions Vinyl Room!!  Was that a trick question? With that said however, I lived within walking distance of Everybody’s Records (and still do). I’ve been to record stores across the country and I still believe it to be one of the best.  When I was younger, my go to spots were Phil’s Records and Record Ally in NKY. Records stores are really libraries for music. I love to watch people dig and discover new music. We have turntables here in our sitting area that people can listen to used records before buying them. We encourage people to hang out and explore music and bands you’re not familiar with. We have free coffee and a fridge full of beer and soft drinks. Like my grandmother used to say, “Pull up a chair and stay for a while.”  

SB: Can you give me a bit of a backstory on Sessions? How long have you been in operation, are you the original owner, etc.

BS: Nathan and I have been talking for years about opening up a business together. We both have a great passion and appreciation for Cincinnati Music History. From James Brown and King records, to Bootsy, The Afghan Whigs, Wussy  and The National to name just a few. Cincinnati  has such a vast history of great music and venues that I don’t think are celebrated enough. If you check out the art on our walls, we pay homage to those bands and venues that shaped Cincinnati music. The name Sessions Vinyl Room really just came from months of brainstorming and I think it captures the vibe we want our customers to experience while they are here. It’s a very relaxed setting with plants, art, turntables to listen to used albums on before they buy. Essentially, if you to walk into my house that is really where the inspiration for Sessions came from. You’re basically in my living room and everyone’s invited. Haha. We also really want to incorporate live music and possibly do live recordings down the road. We just had our first open mic and it was a lot of fun. We’ve only been open since early March of this year and had our grand opening on March 9th. So, we are still very new and still getting the word out. There has been a record store in this location for several years however, so we really wanted to stay in this area. Oakley has been great and it’s been fun getting to know everyone in the neighborhood. A great neighborhood like Oakley needs a local record store, so we are really happy to be here!  

SB: What has been your favorite experience running an independent record store?

BS: So far, it’s really just been getting to know our customers. We have quite a range of people that come in, from those just starting to get into the hobby of  collecting vinyl to the more serious collectors. We want to cater to everyone. We have a large variety of pop, rock, hip hop, soul, jazz, experimental, metal, blues, folk and reggae. We are a smaller shop, but have something for everyone. We get new music in every week, so hopefully it will be a new experience every time you come in. We recently had a Taylor Swift Midnight release party. I remember Tower Records doing these back in the 80s and 90s and I wanted to bring that back. We realize you can now pre-order albums from Amazon, but they can’t throw a party like we can! It was a lot of fun and we hope to do more events like that down the road.  

SB: In a world where streaming is most folks' method of consuming music, why do you feel that vinyl and physical, independent stores continue to be important and needed?

BS: I just read a quote from Jimmy Page where he says, “ I’ve never stopped listening to vinyl. I was very disappointed when the CD’s came out because I didn’t like the way they sounded. So much was lost with CD’s, and then MP3s, they took away much of the depth.” I think that’s very true, but listening to an album is also an experience that you don’t get from streaming. Besides the obvious sound difference between vinyl and digital, there’s something beautiful about putting a needle to a record and listening to the whole album as the artist intended.  Not only that, you miss the packaging  that often includes lyrics, art work, stickers, posters, etc.. It’s exciting to open a new album for the first time to discover what treasures lie inside.  It’s a tangible thing that you can hold in your hands and hopefully one day pass down to your children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and other loved ones. When I think back to my childhood, the memories that are most engrained in my brain are the moments I spent with my family and friends, which often included listening to music. I hear stories from people all the time who have inherited albums and turntables from their parents and grandparents.  It’s a way of staying connected to loved ones that may no longer be with us. So, when you are listening to an album, you’re also reliving and celebrating those memories.  Also, buying used albums over the years, I’ve found old concert tickets, letters, photos hidden inside. You just never know what you’re going to find. If an album could talk, the stories would be amazing. In a word, vinyl is magic. 

4011 Allston St. 1A, Cincinnati, OH 45209

Wednesday & Thursday: 11am - 7pm

Friday & Saturday: 11am - 8pm

Sunday: 12pm - 6pm

513 - 713 - 9178


Recent Posts

Search By Tags
bottom of page