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48 Degrees North

Spinning Vinyl and Building Community

By Denali Sagner
A Jackson Browne record at Slow Burn Records in downtown Whitefish. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

For Bernard Jones, Slow Burn Records is more than just a place to buy music: it’s a hub for Northwest Montana’s vibrant music scene. 

“As much as it’s about the vinyl records, it’s more about having a safe haven for artists,” Jones said. “People are excited about it.”

Jones is the general manager of the record store in Whitefish, which replaced local favorite Spanky’s and Gus after the shop closed its doors in 2021. When Slow Burn’s owners Mike and Dyan Colby heard Spanky’s planned on closing, the couple purchased the storefront and set out on revamping the space. 

Records of all genres line the bright storefront, which is decorated with bespoke furniture, instruments and neon signs. Customers can pop in a record at one of the store’s six listening stations, which allows music lovers to explore the wide-ranging collection. Jones said he has seen a renewed interest from young people in the old-fashioned way of listening to albums. 

Slow Burn Records in downtown Whitefish on June 30, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

“It gives people an alternative to experiencing music on their phones, where you have algorithms that steer you in this direction or that direction,” he said.

In addition to its extensive record collection, Slow Burn hosts regular performances by local artists like Hannah King, a nationally award-winning fiddle player, as well as a rotating cast of DJs. 

Beyond selling records, Jones is excited for Slow Burn to add to the area’s music community. “It’s going to be a celebration of the resurgence of local music in Whitefish and the Flathead Valley,” he said.

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