Soul Sound Records, one of the handful of record stores on Long Island, holds an open mic night every Thursday. Located on Main Street in Sayville. Soul Sounds has an intimate atmosphere that appeals to people of all ages and tastes.
Shortly after 9:00, the lights of Soul Sounds dim and the record store becomes more of a music venue.
“You see a lot of local talent during open mics,” said Topher Smith, 25, a frequent customer. “It’s cool to see the local kids have a place to play.”
Smith said he has never felt more welcome than the first time he walked into Soul Sounds, and now he spends more time at the record store than home.
Sue Filan, the owner of Soul Sounds, said she does not feel like she is working every day. “We are a community of freaks and weirdos who found a place to call home,” said Filan.
Open mic nights are like a gathering of the “weirdos,” or the group of people who relate over their passion for music.
“Open mics give locals a chance to showcase their talents,” said Filan, “and it is a great way to find out what is out there.”
The first two performers were ambitious rappers, Chris “Thoughtz” Kerimian and Jon Jeremy. After them were two electronic DJ performers.
Charlie Kerins and Monty Edwards, who are neighbors in Central Islip, stood out as the oldest performers and the first duo act. Kerins started on guitar and vocals, while Edwards banged on a conga drum. They then traded halfway through the set.
“It is very liberating to go on stage and just be yourself,” said Kerins, 47. “It’s cathartic and a great feeling.”
Edwards, a retired social worker, said he recently decided to write music full-time, and hopes to start his own independent label. He said he was inspired to write music after the death of his wife. He dealt with his pain by writing out his emotions. “We all suffer,” said Edwards, “but we don’t find ways to help it.”
“It’s beautiful when you collaborate with another person,” said Kerins. “We feed off each others energy.”
Filan, the highly energetic and personable owner of Soul Sounds, closes the show accompanied by guitarist Jacob Levesque, 20 of East Islip. Filan said she used to be a professional singer-songwriter and has been in three bands, but she suffered a stroke in 2007, which left her incapable of playing guitar. She took a long break from music, but now has returned to singing.
Filan and Levesque start with a vibrant cover of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz,” followed by an original song Filan wrote for her late father, then the original songs “You Don’t Know What It’s Like,” and “Anthem.” The final song is a cover of “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash.
Amanda Rush, who works the cash register at the store, said she fell in love with Soul Sounds the moment she walked in. “It is great to be excited to go to work,” Rush said. “This is a second home to a lot of us.”
Rob Goldberg, of Sayville, called Soul Sounds a “great addition to the neighborhood.”
“It’s the first record store, that I know of, on Long Island with performances” by locals, Goldberg said.