Sam Wilkes knows he’s strange.
The Staples senior doesn’t like iTunes. “I want something tangible to hold,” he says. “And I like reading inlays. You learn a lot about music that way.”
So Sam buys CDs. Last summer he discovered Sally’s Place, the 2nd-floor store at the funky end of Main Street. He can’t believe such an amazing place exists in his hometown.
“I’ve been to CD shops in New York City, and in Boston near Berklee School of Music,” the bass player says. “They’re run by pretentious musicians who won’t even talk to you. Sally is the polar opposite.”
Sally is Sally White, and though Sam has known her only a year, he nailed it.
“She talks to me for hours about jazz,” Sam says. “She knows everything and everyone. She’s good friends with the owners of the Blue Note and the Half Note, and all the jazz legends — and she talks about them with me!
“When I buy something, she wants to know why I like it,” Sam continues. “She always finds new things for me to listen to. If I tell her about someone, she wants to listen too. And if she doesn’t like it, she tells me why.
“Sally runs her shop by herself, but she has time for everybody. She’s an inspiration to me.”
Sam knows that the CD business — particularly a mom-shop in a suburban town — is in grave danger. That’s why he was excited just before Christmas, when it was packed.
“I hope she’s doing okay now,” Sam says. “A lot of people in Westport don’t even know about Sally’s Place. But it’s a landmark.”
Recently, Sam was accepted at USC’s prestigious Thornton School of Music. The first thing he did was tell Sally.
She got him a CD.