Iconic Chicago record store Dusty Groove has been buying vinyl collections for 20 years. But how can you put a price tag on something so personal as another’s music? Owner and record buyer Rick Wojcik walks into the homes — and stories — of strangers, digging through their jazz, soul, and hip-hop records, buying their once-prized possessions. Each seller shares a common reason: They face a major life transition. Forced to sell because of health crises, downsizing moves, financial woes, or deaths, these collectors (or, in some cases, their heirs) are highly vulnerable, reluctant to abandon the LPs that often have helped define their lives but desperate to convert their personal treasure to cold, hard cash. Their disappointment over the collections’ true value is sometimes acute, and Wojcik is careful to be gentle in his assessments, apologetic about his inability to purchase more records or to increase the frequently modest payout. The buyer manages to establish surprising connections, and his interaction with an elderly, ill African American — a former musician who became a pharmacist for stability — is especially moving: When he discovers an old record that features the musician, Wojcik sits down with the grateful senior to listen to it together. “Dusty Groove” — a film about love, loss, and our deep connection to music — is a collection of intimate narratives, akin to a record album of songs.
With director Beverly and subjects Rick Wojcik and JP Schauer, co-owners of Dusty Groove.