The Stray Birds Recollect a Record Shop in “Best Medicine”


Anybody who’s happy to spend hours scouring bins of vinyl records and thumbing through ragged paperbacks will easily relate to the Stray Birds’ new video, “Best Medicine.”

Maya de Vitry, who wrote the song and sings lead on the track, says she was inspired by an unassuming storefront the folk group found while on tour in Schenectady, New York.

“This town was once called ‘the city that lights and hauls the world,’ but I would never have guessed that walking around it while touring through upstate New York,” she says. “The place has been hit hard by the loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs. I met some real characters there.”

In fact, she met one particularly memorable fellow while she and fellow band members Oliver Craven and Charlie Muench were in town for a gig at the Moon & River Café. And that notable guy would be Kurt Hellijas, who owns a little record shop on Jay Street called the Re-Collector.

“I was impressed that Kurt was able to keep a store open selling vinyl and used books,” de Vitry says. “I was impressed that the people of Schenectady frequented his shop often enough to keep his doors open. Kurt had a lot to say, and he fascinated me. He’s still up in Schenectady, selling vinyl and books.”

Not only that, he’s also the unassuming star of the band’s brand new video. See the CMT Edge premiere of the Stray Birds’ “Best Medicine.” And look for the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, trio’s second full-length album, also titled Best Medicine, in your favorite record store Oct. 21.