Marion Makes MusicFebruary 11, 2020
“I tell people that when he was a teenager, he had his record collection stolen, so that’s why. I think somewhere in his psyche he’s like, ‘I need these! All of these!’”
Noelle laughed about her husband’s affinity for records in their church-turned-home and record store. She sat on the couch next to a record player with headphones, there for people to listen to whatever they want. Among the rows, shelves, and racks of categorized records, everyone will find something they want to hear.
The music makers
The Kolbs, Patrick and Noelle, moved to West Virginia in 2013 and opened Assumption Records in 2014 after four years of an online record business they started in Richmond, Virginia.
“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to open a record store?’ Because, in Richmond, they were popping up a lot. And we wanted to move back here anyway because I wanted to be closer to my mother in her later years.”
Patrick and Noelle are originally from New York. Noelle would come to West Virginia in the summers to visit her grandparents. When her parents retired, she was still in high school and they decided to move to her grandparent’s farm in Buckhannon.
“I grew up in New York, and so I say exactly what I feel a lot. I associate that with New York. And I’m from an Italian family, too, so that doesn’t help either,” she said.
The record store feels homey with space for people to be near the history of jazz, the future of rock and everything in between. It has a cat, coloring books and Noelle’s toys from her childhood. Families and children are all welcome. Drinks are just $1. It’s New York meets Rivesville if anything ever was. But music, at least for Noelle, didn’t come naturally – or ever.
“I tried to play the French horn and failed miserably! I have no background in music,” Noelle said and laughed. “Now my husband, on the other hand, plays several different instruments and is really knowledgeable about music. He’s the knowledge behind this whole thing. I’m more of the business type.”
She said he really did have his record collection stolen, but the reason for the record store really comes down to a love for music.
Always a student
As for her musical taste, Noelle said she’s an old Prague fan. She likes Genesis, but the very old stuff, not the new stuff. She added that since opening the store, her customers have taught her so much more about jazz that she never knew.
“Every customer that comes in and talks music at all teaches me something. So I’ve become much more acquainted with jazz … I’m absolutely in love with Kraut Rock of all types,” she said, explaining that Kraut consists of German bands with few instruments and so resorted to using anything to make music.
Although she and Patrick have records and genres they love, she said they’re not collectors.
“We really did decide that we can have them for a little bit, and then they‘re going to be someone else’s, where they’re supposed to go.”
The place is comfortable and the Kolbs are easily approachable. Even though in their circle of friends in Virginia they became known as ‘the record people,’ Noelle said they don’t necessarily know more or better than someone else.
“We just have a bunch of records,” she laughed.
Record collectors, she said, are very different people. And the types of collectors are endless: collectors who want every version of something; completists who want everything a band ever did; people who want cover art.
“There are people that come in with a list that they saw on Rolling Stone that says ‘these are the records that you must have’ – should have – and that’s what they’re coming in with. That’s what they want. … It’s been very interesting to meet all kinds of people and help them fulfill whatever it is on their list that they need.”
When it comes to music, records are best. According to Noelle, tapes will never be the cool, vintage thing people flock to buy again.
“They still can serve a purpose as they did back in the day because they are cheap … but they sound like crap,” she said. “There’s no listening to a cassette and saying, ‘Dang! That sounds good!”
(Assumption sells record cleaner (made by Noelle) that ships all over the U.S. Assumption t-shirts and band t-shirts are for sale along with 48s and record player compatible pieces. They don’t sell record players, however. For any restoration needs, they can provide information to restoration businesses.)
Someday, and hopefully soon, the church-turned-record store will be home to records, music lovers, record collectors and all kinds of art. Noelle may not be a musician, but she is an artist and a people person. She wants to make all forms of art more readily available to Marion by opening up a studio right there at Assumption Records.
But, she said, it will all happen when it’s supposed to – just as Assumption Records happened when it was supposed to happen.
“This was, I’d have to say, God-directed… because we didn’t plan on this,” she said without any sense of irony as she sat in the church, among the history, the present and future of art.
Assumption Records was featured on the big screen when it was one of the sites featured in Bob Tinnell’s latest movie, Feast of the Seven Fishes Movie.
What’s your favorite album?