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For Stidman, the renovations have been quite a chore. "Some of these things haven't been moved in twenty years," he says. "But we think that by doing this, it'll help us keep our niche. The big stores don't necessarily pay that much attention to a lot of the more fringe types of music, and they don't care as much about what you might call the cutting edge. Whereas we actually try to carry what people want--what they ask us for. We aren't becoming millionaires by doing that, but we're keeping the quality up. Maybe it's dusty and dirty, but you've got to admit that the stock is pretty interesting."

Indeed it is--and local albums are still an important part of the mix. The store's policy toward such recordings is intended to be beneficial for customers and musicians alike. "The first time a band brings something in, we do it on consignment and take three cassettes or three CDs," Kerr notes. "And if those sell right away, we'll buy anything in the future outright." He laughs. "Bet you Virgin doesn't do it that way."

Musician magazine is again sponsoring a best-unsigned-band contest. Entries need to be postmarked by December 31. For more details, go to the Musician Web site at musicianmag.com.

Other places to visit: On Thursday, December 3, the Greyboy Allstars Sidecar Project tests the road at the Fox Theatre; Bregstown celebrates the release of a new CD, Welcome to Bregstown, at Avogadro's Number, 605 South Mason Street in Fort Collins; the Ugly Americans bring their pretty faces to the Bluebird Theater; and Cry, Cry, Cry, featuring Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell, sobs at the Boulder Theater. On Friday, December 4, Sara Hickman and Tish Hinojosa perform a doubleheader at the Swallow Hill Music Hall, and Bob Hall and Chris Zorn headline an African music and dance concert at the Naropa Institute in Boulder (the program is repeated the following night; call 303-546-3567 for more information). On Saturday, December 5, Hellworms tunnel to the 15th Street Tavern, and children's music performer Ingrid Faraj showcases at the Bowles Crossing Media Play, 8055 West Bowles Avenue in Littleton. And on Sunday, December 6, Bio Ritmo rumbas at the Fox. Shake your moneymaker.

--Michael Roberts

Backbeat's e-mail address is: Michael_Roberts@westword.com. While you're online, visit Michael Roberts's Jukebox at www.westword.com.

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