Yep Roc Records

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Yep Roc Records is an American independent record label based in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and owned by Redeye Distribution.[1][2][3] Since 1997, the label has released albums from North Carolina and international artists, including Aoife O'Donovan, Chatham County Line, Dave Alvin, Amy Helm, Chuck Prophet, Gang of Four, Los Straitjackets, Nick Lowe, Paul Weller, Robyn Hitchcock, Ryan Adams, The Apples in Stereo, The Reverend Horton Heat, Mandolin Orange, and Tift Merritt.[2][3]

Yep Roc Records
Founded1997 (1997)
FounderGlenn Dicker
Tor Hansen
Distributor(s)Redeye Distribution
Country of originU.S.
LocationHillsborough, North Carolina


Tor Hansen started the label in 1997,[4] two years after moving to North Carolina to help manage a chain of record stores in the South. In and around the musical hotbed of Chapel Hill, he encountered bands making good music but not really knowing how to get it out. Back in Boston, he'd worked at Rounder Records with his childhood friend and former bandmate Glenn Dicker. Tor had worked in sales, and Glenn had worked in promotions. They made the decision to try and do both together with their own label and their own distribution wing, Redeye.[3]

It started with a few local compilations featuring some recognizable names (Ryan Adams archivists will note Whiskeytown's “Take Your Guns to Town” on YEP-2001, the inaugural 1997 release) and some names they hoped people would soon spot. There were no strictures or typecasts, no attempts to use the best bands in the vicinity to define a North Carolina sound or a Yep Roc brand. It was all simply stuff that Hansen and Dicker liked.[3]

“It has been a sort of organic growth,” says Hansen, “It wasn't like we just started a record label with all this money. There were roots to this thing, and they start way back. Slow growth has been a good thing for us."[1]

After about its first 100 releases, Yep Roc entered one of its most indicatively taste-driven spurts, releasing, in succession, records by Hüsker Dü's Bob Mould, Springsteen proselytes Marah, drifting folk act Dolorean and rock ’n’ roll madmen The Legendary Shack*Shakers. Jump down a few more catalogue numbers, and Yep Roc followed the debut of terse, tense post-punk act Cities with discs by alt-country progenitor Dave Alvin and Los Straitjackets, the masked surf rock stars whose sales a year earlier helped convince Hansen and Dicker that their personal and open approach to curating releases was a sustainable move.[3]

The success of Los Straitjackets and the experience of working with Dicker on the Rounder-distributed Upstart helped provide the convincer to Nick Lowe to join Yep Roc. And after recording an album with a band named Wilco, Young Fresh Fellow Scott McCaughey simply knew he wanted to be on the same label as Lowe, so he sent it over to Yep Roc.[3]

“I’m a huge Nick fan, and I figured any label that was into Nick had to be cool,” McCaughey says. The label's partnership with McCaughey has lasted nearly a decade, something he attributes to the openness of Dicker and Hansen to put their brand and money behind something they simply enjoy. “I’m surprised by the way they embraced my other bands, especially The Baseball Project. I’m also grateful that they support the Young Fresh Fellows occasional releases, with no hope of monetary gain.”[3]

In 2016, Dicker was elected to the A2IM Board of Directors.[5]


Yep Roc calls itself "the artist-driven label that refuses to be labeled."[1]

“If I’ve got on my Yep Roc T-shirt,” explains label co-founder Tor Hansen, “I’m not really a part of one music scene. I accept that, and I think it’s actually pretty great. I like the idea that Yep Roc has the idea of an all-inclusive approach.”[3]

Both Dicker and Hansen like to joke that such a release-what-you-love approach might not always make the most financial sense. They've very rarely pursued indie rock's latest buzzing commodity or chased a trend washing through the industry. The label has never been about its own brand or the micro-celebrity of its owners; rather, Yep Roc has always tried to follow the path of the artists it claims. That might mean that they're not able to return to the same customer core for every album.[3]

“It’s a little challenging when we do a singer-songwriter, some blues guy, some garage-rock guy, some indie thing. It’s a little bit all over the place. It presents fun challenges, but the marketing of this brand is difficult,” explains Dicker. “It’s about the artist first- in fact, we’re driven by the artists. We’re going to market this artist and connect the dots for this artist; the brand is just going to follow behind that in the pop-up camper. That’s always the way we’ve looked at it, never the other way around.”[3]

Artists past and presentEdit

Special projectsEdit

Southern Folklife CollectionEdit

In January 2017, Yep Roc Records announced a partnership with the Southern Folklife Collection (SFC) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. SFC is a large archival resource consisting of a collection of rare recordings of American southern music. As part of the partnership, Yep Roc Records will aid in producing, packaging, and distributing rare archival recordings of which SFC will have created digital masters.[7]

The first three rare recordings to be released were announced alongside news about the partnership. The first release will be a remastered recording of legendary country music star Dolly Parton's first single "Puppy Love" and the original "B" side, "Girl Left Alone." The tracks were originally recorded in 1959 when the singer was just thirteen years old and released on Goldband Records, a prominent southern music label in the 1950s and 1960s. The reissue will be in the form of an exclusive 45" vinyl available only on Record Store Day of 2017 (April 22).

The second release is a compilation of classic Cajun music titled Swampland Jewels, also originally released on Goldband Records. The tracklisting includes songs from important Cajun music artists such as Jo-El Sonnier, Boozoo Chavis, Iry LeJune Jr., and Cleveland Crochet. It is scheduled to be released on September 22, 2017.

The last of the initial three releases will be a live recording of Doc Watson, a prolific guitar player and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient known for his "flatpicking" skills. The album, titled "Live at Club 47", was recorded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1963. The release date is currently TBA.


Tor Hansen and Glen Dicker currently own Yep Roc Records. Glenn Dicker is on The Music Business Association board of directors.[8] Tor Hansen is a board member of A2IM. In August 2013, Hansen spoke as a representative of A2IM before the US Congress Judiciary Committee on Copyrights.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Exploring the trials, errors and endurance of Yep Roc Records". Indy Week. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Yep Roc Records Artists Archive » Yep Roc Records". Yep Roc Records. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Yep Roc Records YR15: About Yep Roc Records » Yep Roc Records". Yep Roc Records. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Yep Roc announces 15th-birthday bash". Indy Week. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  5. ^ "A2IM Announces 2016 Board Of Directors Election Results | A2IM". Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  6. ^ Leopold, Todd (December 3, 2014). "Faces' keyboardist Ian McLagan dead at 69". CNN. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  7. ^ "Southern Folklife Collection Partners with Yep Roc Records to Release Rare Music Recordings from Its Vast Archives | UNC Library News and Events". Retrieved 2017-01-27.
  8. ^ "Music Business Association Adds 2 To Board - hypebot". Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  9. ^ "A2IM: American Association of Independent Music". Retrieved 15 November 2014.

External linksEdit