Local Business

Published on October 27th, 2014 | by Newt Rayburn


RIP Austin’s Music 2007–2014

KennethLacyOxford, Miss. (TLV) – After nearly 15 years in the music instrument business in Oxford, Kenneth Lacy is getting out of the game.

Lacy has been a long time fixture of Oxford’s music scene, by first helping Tupelo Consignment open Rebel Music in the late 1990s on Jackson Avenue, and then venturing out on his own in 2007 by opening Austin’s Music on Heritage Drive. At the end of November 2014, Lacy will be closing Austin’s Music retail business down for good.

“This is a young man’s game, and all the kids have cell phones with internet,” Lacy said. “They can buy everything on the internet these days at or below dealer cost.”

But the changing landscape of the music business isn’t necessarily why Kenneth is going out of business. Despite doing well by offering a wide variety of music lessons and loving being in the music retail business, family health matters are ultimately the deciding factor.

“My mom is in declining health and she needs me,” Lacy says. “I’m not going to put her in a nursing home.”

Kenneth’s dedication to his family is certainly admirable and applaudable; still the loss of a local music store is a blow to Oxford’s music scene. Ironically, the news travelled fast on the internet and a wide variety of local and national musicians chimed in on Facebook to lament the news.

“Really hate to hear this, but understand your motivations,” posted Rocket 88 bassist Nate Robbins. “Prayers for you and your family.”

“Where is the dislike button?” posted local artist Jason “J-Man” Heavner.

“You did a great job starting from nothing,” said Don Martin. “All the best to your family.”

Local musicians will have until the end of November to buy at Austin’s Music, and everything in the store is being sold at or below dealer costs. The sale is first come, first serve, and Kenneth won’t be restocking his store.

Oxford has been lucky to have three local music instrument stores for the last seven years, and this was certainly a sign of a very healthy local music scene in such a small town.

As a personal note, I like to point out that Austin’s Music has been housed in my father’s old law office since the beginning. My father, Tommy Rayburn, was a bass guitarist who played in the 1960s. He even recorded with Issac Hayes and David Porter at Stax Recording Studio in Memphis before he went to law school at Ole Miss.

My Dad passed away in 2003, but going to Austin’s Music in my Dad’s old office was a real treat for me personally, and I know Dad would have loved that his law office became a music store. Just like myself, I also know he would be very disappointed to see it closed down.

But all aspects of the music business these days are changing, and not always for the best.

“In ten years, there won’t be any more Mom & Pop music stores,” Kenneth continued. “It’s all going to be Big Box music stores and the internet.” The Local Voice Ligature



This article was originally printed in The Local Voice #215 (published October 23, 2014). 
To download the PDF of this issue, click here.

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About the Author

Newt Rayburn founded THE LOCAL VOICE in March of 2006. Previously, Newt was Editor of PROFANE EXISTENCE in Minneapolis, and Art Director for Ole Miss' LIVING BLUES magazine. Newt won a National Magazine Award in 1999 for his SOUTHERN MUSIC ISSUE with THE OXFORD AMERICAN. A seventh-generation Lafayette County, Mississippian, Newt Rayburn's alter ego—Neuter Cooter—lead the Mississippi band THE COOTERS to Rocknoll Glory across the USA from 1993-2018. Newt is a family man who also is a publisher, photographer, writer, musician, landlord, and Civil War enthusiast.

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