Karmasonics indy music shop in downtown Asheville to close after 22-year run

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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Karmasonics Music Video, a 22-year-old music shop in downtown Asheville, has announced that it is closing. Word on the street is that a new pharmacy opening is opening at the location, 19 Biltmore Ave. Here’s the Karmasonics press release:

For 22 years, making it’s home in downtown Asheville, Karmasonics Music Video has endeavored to bring great music to the Asheville community. And now the time has come for a change. Owner and founder John Ludovico has moved to the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York and has continued regular treks to Asheville to maintain Karmasonics business responsibilities. As time has revealed the next chapter, the iconic music store is phasing out of business by the year’s end. The store will be open until the end of December and will feature various sales as the month progresses. On Dec. 22, Karmasonics, with appreciation to all our customers for over two decades, will host an all day event with food, sales, freebies and music to say goodbye to the community. Join us in saying farewell and best wishes to John, his brother George who has been with the store since 2003, and Jack McKnight, our newest intrepid staff member. Come and share your memories and support while listening to some fine music and remembering what made the shop Asheville’s longest-lived independent music store.

The history of Karmasonics in Asheville began in 1995 with lifelong friends and business partners John Ludovico and Richard Brown at the helm. The two shared a love of music, having formed a rock band in the late 60’s, so opening a music store was a natural move. Richard left in 2000 to move to CT and marry, and Karmasonics continued under the direction of John. The sop moved to 19 Biltmore Ave. from its original Haywood Street location and opened its new doors on August 8, 2008.

The shop was at the forefront of presenting live music in Asheville, opening the store with an in-store performance by national touring singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer and followed through the years by such notable acts as The Roches, Cluster, Peggy Seeger, and many more. On the local music scene, Karmasonics presented a regular weekly music series in the 1990’s and 2000’s, giving local musicians a place to play and sometimes workshop new music. The store regularly presented musicians who were part of the local scene, including local and regional notables like Jim Taylor, Menage, Jimmy Landry, Aaron Price, Beth Wood, Chris Rosser, Jim Magill, Billy Jonas, Woody Wood, Wanda Lu-Greene, Malcolm Holcombe, The Muses and many, many more.

Over the years, many well-know artists were welcomed as they came in to chat, check out the local independent retail scene and shop. Among them were Brian Eno, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Erikah Badu, Walter Parks, Richie Havens, Joan Osborne, Kris Kristofferson, The Avett Brothers, and Steve Earle.

For many years, the shop was a regular sponsor and performance venue for First Night Asheville and folks in the community will also remember the Karmasonics annual birthday party, free to community members as a thank you for buying local and for their patronage of the store.
It is with a heavy heart that Karmasonics closes its doors and says goodbye to its Asheville home.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. N December 6, 2016

    If a significant number of their customers were treated as rudely as I was one two or three occasions it is amazing the place lasted 22 years.

  2. BMacAVL December 6, 2016

    Sad…they are very friendly and a great selections of concert DVDS…record selection is very small compared to Harvest but still sad to see an independent locally owned business close…I will miss you guys! Much Love for the years of service!!!!!

  3. Doug Cegelis December 6, 2016

    A pharmacy? What a weird location for a pharmacy.

  4. Arlo Sanibal December 3, 2016

    I remember this shop when it was on College Street, it was one of several in town at the time, including the record shop where Thirsty Monk is now. I have to say I never actually cared for the owners, particularly the one at its new location. Unfriendly and attitude-heavy. They could’ve changed their inventory to better appeal to vinyl collectors, or just turned it into some kind of hippy or head shop. But they just kept carrying over priced CDs. No surprise they’re going out of business.


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