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Arts & Entertainment

Best Local Label 

Big Muddy Records

With the death of the major-label record industry just around the corner, and with many good independent labels struggling to stay solvent, why would anyone want to undertake the thankless task of running one? The MP3 revolution has made CD shelves veritable landfills, and this recession has made music an increasingly expendable commodity. Luckily the plucky folks at Big Muddy Records, led by Chris Baricevic, could care less about industry predictions. At Big Muddy, acoustic, blues-based music comes first, closely followed by party-starting. In the last year the label has put out great releases by Bob Reuter's Alley Ghost, the Rum Drum Ramblers, the Monads and Pokey LaFarge. The records can stand on their own, but when the Big Muddy gang throws a shindig, put it on your calendar. This year's second annual Party in the Park found the label's roster and its friends taking over part of Tower Grove Park with barbecue, brews and plenty of booty-shaking music. If selling CDs is a dying profession, the crew at Big Muddy can always fall back on their party-planning skills.

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