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Rhythm and ‘do’s: Kyle’s Barbershop serves as gathering spot for Alexandria musicians

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. -- On a Tuesday afternoon, Kyle's Barbershop owner Kyle Nelson and employee Jeff Tacker give back-to-back haircuts to five customers. A few patrons gather in the back corner of the shop near a rack of musical instruments, while ...

The owner of Kyle’s Barbershop, Kyle Nelson, cuts Dwaine Johnson’s hair. The barbershop has become a place for musicians to hang out, while also getting hair cuts. (Beth Leipholtz | Echo Press)
The owner of Kyle's Barbershop, Kyle Nelson, cuts Dwaine Johnson's hair. The barbershop has become a place for musicians to hang out, while also getting haircuts. Beth Leipholtz / Forum News Service

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. - On a Tuesday afternoon, Kyle’s Barbershop owner Kyle Nelson and employee Jeff Tacker give back-to-back haircuts to five customers. A few patrons gather in the back corner of the shop near a rack of musical instruments, while others sit in the chairs lining the wall. “Usually we have a lot of people hanging out here,” Tacker says. “Today is a little quiet.”
But to anyone who doesn’t frequent Kyle’s, quiet would not be the adjective of choice. The Alexandria shop is filled with the strumming of guitars, witty one-liners and raspy laughter. Upon entering the shop on Broadway, patrons know they are in for far more than a haircut. This is because the barbershop also doubles as a place where local musicians gather to play instruments and sing, and other patrons simply to listen.   “You get some words of wisdom here,” said patron Dwaine Johnson. Though the barbershop has been in Nelson’s family since 1969, the musical element is somewhat new. It evolved when the Guitar Shoppe opened next door. “Kyle kind of had an interest for music, and one day he just bought a guitar,” said Tacker, who has worked at the barbershop for 10 years. “(Guitar Shoppe owner) Shane (Delaney Dewald) had moved in next door and next thing I know, Kyle is taking guitar lessons from Shane. In a matter of no time he was playing songs, and I switched from playing drums to playing bass and we just started playing together.” [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2956764","attributes":{"alt":"From left, Guitar Shoppe employee Chuck Wencl, musician Wayne Allen and Guitar Shoppe owner Shane Dewald play music.","class":"media-image","height":"335","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] The two began leaving their personal guitars in the barbershop. Then customers took notice and began playing there. “Everyone in there likes music and it’s funny how many customers we have that actually play music,” Tacker said. “I run sound for a lot of bands and I know a lot of musicians. They come in and pick up the guitar and play.” Word of the musical atmosphere spread, and now the barbershop has a steady group of musicians that play at the shop. Even the mail carrier frequents the shop on his lunch break. Recently a group from the barbershop started playing publicly, making the occasional appearance at Common Ground Coffee Shop. Mark Moen of the local band Good Company also frequents the barbershop for the music aspect. “It’s a good place to hang out and have a lot of fun,” he said. “There’s a lot of good folks. It’s kind of like a family atmosphere.” In the two years since the Guitar Shoppe has been located next door, the relationship between the two shops has grown. Sometimes Tacker and Nelson will even help out guitar students. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2956767","attributes":{"alt":"The Guitar Shoppe has been next to Kyle's Barbershop for two years.","class":"media-image","height":"480","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"366"}}]] “Sometimes they will bring their students over when it’s slow, if they're working on something, and we’ll accompany them with a number,” Tacker said. Dewald and Guitar Shoppe employee Chuck Wencl say the relationship between the two shops is one they didn’t expect, but something they both enjoy greatly. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Dewald, who has been giving guitar lessons for 17 years. “There’s actually a door that goes from the barbershop to next door, and basically the only time that door is ever shut is when there’s lessons.” According to Nelson, who has been cutting hair for 40 years, his employees, customers and the Guitar Shoppe keep the profession interesting.   “Cutting hair day in and day out gets kind of boring if not for the people,” he said. “You meet a lot of interesting people. You get to know a lot about people’s lives. If it wasn’t for that part of the job, it would be like working at a manufacturing place and doing the same thing over and over. … You meet a lot of characters.”ALEXANDRIA, Minn. - On a Tuesday afternoon, Kyle’s Barbershop owner Kyle Nelson and employee Jeff Tacker give back-to-back haircuts to five customers. A few patrons gather in the back corner of the shop near a rack of musical instruments, while others sit in the chairs lining the wall. “Usually we have a lot of people hanging out here,” Tacker says. “Today is a little quiet.” [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2956763","attributes":{"alt":"Kyle’s Barbershop owner Kyle Nelson and employee Jeff Tacker play music in the barbershop during a break between haircuts. ","class":"media-image","height":"430","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] But to anyone who doesn’t frequent Kyle’s, quiet would not be the adjective of choice. The Alexandria shop is filled with the strumming of guitars, witty one-liners and raspy laughter. Upon entering the shop on Broadway, patrons know they are in for far more than a haircut. This is because the barbershop also doubles as a place where local musicians gather to play instruments and sing, and other patrons simply to listen.   “You get some words of wisdom here,” said patron Dwaine Johnson. Though the barbershop has been in Nelson’s family since 1969, the musical element is somewhat new. It evolved when the Guitar Shoppe opened next door. “Kyle kind of had an interest for music, and one day he just bought a guitar,” said Tacker, who has worked at the barbershop for 10 years. “(Guitar Shoppe owner) Shane (Delaney Dewald) had moved in next door and next thing I know, Kyle is taking guitar lessons from Shane. In a matter of no time he was playing songs, and I switched from playing drums to playing bass and we just started playing together.”
The two began leaving their personal guitars in the barbershop. Then customers took notice and began playing there. “Everyone in there likes music and it’s funny how many customers we have that actually play music,” Tacker said. “I run sound for a lot of bands and I know a lot of musicians. They come in and pick up the guitar and play.” Word of the musical atmosphere spread, and now the barbershop has a steady group of musicians that play at the shop. Even the mail carrier frequents the shop on his lunch break. Recently a group from the barbershop started playing publicly, making the occasional appearance at Common Ground Coffee Shop. Mark Moen of the local band Good Company also frequents the barbershop for the music aspect. “It’s a good place to hang out and have a lot of fun,” he said. “There’s a lot of good folks. It’s kind of like a family atmosphere.” In the two years since the Guitar Shoppe has been located next door, the relationship between the two shops has grown. Sometimes Tacker and Nelson will even help out guitar students. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2956767","attributes":{"alt":"The Guitar Shoppe has been next to Kyle's Barbershop for two years.","class":"media-image","height":"480","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"366"}}]] “Sometimes they will bring their students over when it’s slow, if they're working on something, and we’ll accompany them with a number,” Tacker said. Dewald and Guitar Shoppe employee Chuck Wencl say the relationship between the two shops is one they didn’t expect, but something they both enjoy greatly. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Dewald, who has been giving guitar lessons for 17 years. “There’s actually a door that goes from the barbershop to next door, and basically the only time that door is ever shut is when there’s lessons.” According to Nelson, who has been cutting hair for 40 years, his employees, customers and the Guitar Shoppe keep the profession interesting.   “Cutting hair day in and day out gets kind of boring if not for the people,” he said. “You meet a lot of interesting people. You get to know a lot about people’s lives. If it wasn’t for that part of the job, it would be like working at a manufacturing place and doing the same thing over and over. … You meet a lot of characters.”ALEXANDRIA, Minn. - On a Tuesday afternoon, Kyle’s Barbershop owner Kyle Nelson and employee Jeff Tacker give back-to-back haircuts to five customers. A few patrons gather in the back corner of the shop near a rack of musical instruments, while others sit in the chairs lining the wall. “Usually we have a lot of people hanging out here,” Tacker says. “Today is a little quiet.” [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2956763","attributes":{"alt":"Kyle’s Barbershop owner Kyle Nelson and employee Jeff Tacker play music in the barbershop during a break between haircuts. ","class":"media-image","height":"430","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] But to anyone who doesn’t frequent Kyle’s, quiet would not be the adjective of choice. The Alexandria shop is filled with the strumming of guitars, witty one-liners and raspy laughter. Upon entering the shop on Broadway, patrons know they are in for far more than a haircut. This is because the barbershop also doubles as a place where local musicians gather to play instruments and sing, and other patrons simply to listen.   “You get some words of wisdom here,” said patron Dwaine Johnson. Though the barbershop has been in Nelson’s family since 1969, the musical element is somewhat new. It evolved when the Guitar Shoppe opened next door. “Kyle kind of had an interest for music, and one day he just bought a guitar,” said Tacker, who has worked at the barbershop for 10 years. “(Guitar Shoppe owner) Shane (Delaney Dewald) had moved in next door and next thing I know, Kyle is taking guitar lessons from Shane. In a matter of no time he was playing songs, and I switched from playing drums to playing bass and we just started playing together.” [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2956764","attributes":{"alt":"From left, Guitar Shoppe employee Chuck Wencl, musician Wayne Allen and Guitar Shoppe owner Shane Dewald play music.","class":"media-image","height":"335","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] The two began leaving their personal guitars in the barbershop. Then customers took notice and began playing there. “Everyone in there likes music and it’s funny how many customers we have that actually play music,” Tacker said. “I run sound for a lot of bands and I know a lot of musicians. They come in and pick up the guitar and play.” Word of the musical atmosphere spread, and now the barbershop has a steady group of musicians that play at the shop. Even the mail carrier frequents the shop on his lunch break. Recently a group from the barbershop started playing publicly, making the occasional appearance at Common Ground Coffee Shop. Mark Moen of the local band Good Company also frequents the barbershop for the music aspect. “It’s a good place to hang out and have a lot of fun,” he said. “There’s a lot of good folks. It’s kind of like a family atmosphere.” In the two years since the Guitar Shoppe has been located next door, the relationship between the two shops has grown. Sometimes Tacker and Nelson will even help out guitar students.
“Sometimes they will bring their students over when it’s slow, if they're working on something, and we’ll accompany them with a number,” Tacker said. Dewald and Guitar Shoppe employee Chuck Wencl say the relationship between the two shops is one they didn’t expect, but something they both enjoy greatly. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Dewald, who has been giving guitar lessons for 17 years. “There’s actually a door that goes from the barbershop to next door, and basically the only time that door is ever shut is when there’s lessons.” According to Nelson, who has been cutting hair for 40 years, his employees, customers and the Guitar Shoppe keep the profession interesting.   “Cutting hair day in and day out gets kind of boring if not for the people,” he said. “You meet a lot of interesting people. You get to know a lot about people’s lives. If it wasn’t for that part of the job, it would be like working at a manufacturing place and doing the same thing over and over. … You meet a lot of characters.”ALEXANDRIA, Minn. - On a Tuesday afternoon, Kyle’s Barbershop owner Kyle Nelson and employee Jeff Tacker give back-to-back haircuts to five customers. A few patrons gather in the back corner of the shop near a rack of musical instruments, while others sit in the chairs lining the wall. “Usually we have a lot of people hanging out here,” Tacker says. “Today is a little quiet.”
But to anyone who doesn’t frequent Kyle’s, quiet would not be the adjective of choice. The Alexandria shop is filled with the strumming of guitars, witty one-liners and raspy laughter. Upon entering the shop on Broadway, patrons know they are in for far more than a haircut. This is because the barbershop also doubles as a place where local musicians gather to play instruments and sing, and other patrons simply to listen.  “You get some words of wisdom here,” said patron Dwaine Johnson. Though the barbershop has been in Nelson’s family since 1969, the musical element is somewhat new. It evolved when the Guitar Shoppe opened next door. “Kyle kind of had an interest for music, and one day he just bought a guitar,” said Tacker, who has worked at the barbershop for 10 years. “(Guitar Shoppe owner) Shane (Delaney Dewald) had moved in next door and next thing I know, Kyle is taking guitar lessons from Shane. In a matter of no time he was playing songs, and I switched from playing drums to playing bass and we just started playing together.”[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2956764","attributes":{"alt":"From left, Guitar Shoppe employee Chuck Wencl, musician Wayne Allen and Guitar Shoppe owner Shane Dewald play music.","class":"media-image","height":"335","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]The two began leaving their personal guitars in the barbershop. Then customers took notice and began playing there. “Everyone in there likes music and it’s funny how many customers we have that actually play music,” Tacker said. “I run sound for a lot of bands and I know a lot of musicians. They come in and pick up the guitar and play.”Word of the musical atmosphere spread, and now the barbershop has a steady group of musicians that play at the shop. Even the mail carrier frequents the shop on his lunch break.Recently a group from the barbershop started playing publicly, making the occasional appearance at Common Ground Coffee Shop. Mark Moen of the local band Good Company also frequents the barbershop for the music aspect. “It’s a good place to hang out and have a lot of fun,” he said. “There’s a lot of good folks. It’s kind of like a family atmosphere.”In the two years since the Guitar Shoppe has been located next door, the relationship between the two shops has grown. Sometimes Tacker and Nelson will even help out guitar students.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2956767","attributes":{"alt":"The Guitar Shoppe has been next to Kyle's Barbershop for two years.","class":"media-image","height":"480","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"366"}}]]“Sometimes they will bring their students over when it’s slow, if they're working on something, and we’ll accompany them with a number,” Tacker said. Dewald and Guitar Shoppe employee Chuck Wencl say the relationship between the two shops is one they didn’t expect, but something they both enjoy greatly. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Dewald, who has been giving guitar lessons for 17 years. “There’s actually a door that goes from the barbershop to next door, and basically the only time that door is ever shut is when there’s lessons.” According to Nelson, who has been cutting hair for 40 years, his employees, customers and the Guitar Shoppe keep the profession interesting.  “Cutting hair day in and day out gets kind of boring if not for the people,” he said. “You meet a lot of interesting people. You get to know a lot about people’s lives. If it wasn’t for that part of the job, it would be like working at a manufacturing place and doing the same thing over and over. … You meet a lot of characters.”ALEXANDRIA, Minn. - On a Tuesday afternoon, Kyle’s Barbershop owner Kyle Nelson and employee Jeff Tacker give back-to-back haircuts to five customers. A few patrons gather in the back corner of the shop near a rack of musical instruments, while others sit in the chairs lining the wall. “Usually we have a lot of people hanging out here,” Tacker says. “Today is a little quiet.”[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2956763","attributes":{"alt":"Kyle’s Barbershop owner Kyle Nelson and employee Jeff Tacker play music in the barbershop during a break between haircuts. ","class":"media-image","height":"430","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]But to anyone who doesn’t frequent Kyle’s, quiet would not be the adjective of choice. The Alexandria shop is filled with the strumming of guitars, witty one-liners and raspy laughter. Upon entering the shop on Broadway, patrons know they are in for far more than a haircut. This is because the barbershop also doubles as a place where local musicians gather to play instruments and sing, and other patrons simply to listen.  “You get some words of wisdom here,” said patron Dwaine Johnson. Though the barbershop has been in Nelson’s family since 1969, the musical element is somewhat new. It evolved when the Guitar Shoppe opened next door. “Kyle kind of had an interest for music, and one day he just bought a guitar,” said Tacker, who has worked at the barbershop for 10 years. “(Guitar Shoppe owner) Shane (Delaney Dewald) had moved in next door and next thing I know, Kyle is taking guitar lessons from Shane. In a matter of no time he was playing songs, and I switched from playing drums to playing bass and we just started playing together.”
The two began leaving their personal guitars in the barbershop. Then customers took notice and began playing there. “Everyone in there likes music and it’s funny how many customers we have that actually play music,” Tacker said. “I run sound for a lot of bands and I know a lot of musicians. They come in and pick up the guitar and play.”Word of the musical atmosphere spread, and now the barbershop has a steady group of musicians that play at the shop. Even the mail carrier frequents the shop on his lunch break.Recently a group from the barbershop started playing publicly, making the occasional appearance at Common Ground Coffee Shop. Mark Moen of the local band Good Company also frequents the barbershop for the music aspect. “It’s a good place to hang out and have a lot of fun,” he said. “There’s a lot of good folks. It’s kind of like a family atmosphere.”In the two years since the Guitar Shoppe has been located next door, the relationship between the two shops has grown. Sometimes Tacker and Nelson will even help out guitar students.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2956767","attributes":{"alt":"The Guitar Shoppe has been next to Kyle's Barbershop for two years.","class":"media-image","height":"480","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"366"}}]]“Sometimes they will bring their students over when it’s slow, if they're working on something, and we’ll accompany them with a number,” Tacker said. Dewald and Guitar Shoppe employee Chuck Wencl say the relationship between the two shops is one they didn’t expect, but something they both enjoy greatly. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Dewald, who has been giving guitar lessons for 17 years. “There’s actually a door that goes from the barbershop to next door, and basically the only time that door is ever shut is when there’s lessons.” According to Nelson, who has been cutting hair for 40 years, his employees, customers and the Guitar Shoppe keep the profession interesting.  “Cutting hair day in and day out gets kind of boring if not for the people,” he said. “You meet a lot of interesting people. You get to know a lot about people’s lives. If it wasn’t for that part of the job, it would be like working at a manufacturing place and doing the same thing over and over. … You meet a lot of characters.”ALEXANDRIA, Minn. - On a Tuesday afternoon, Kyle’s Barbershop owner Kyle Nelson and employee Jeff Tacker give back-to-back haircuts to five customers. A few patrons gather in the back corner of the shop near a rack of musical instruments, while others sit in the chairs lining the wall. “Usually we have a lot of people hanging out here,” Tacker says. “Today is a little quiet.”[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2956763","attributes":{"alt":"Kyle’s Barbershop owner Kyle Nelson and employee Jeff Tacker play music in the barbershop during a break between haircuts. ","class":"media-image","height":"430","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]But to anyone who doesn’t frequent Kyle’s, quiet would not be the adjective of choice. The Alexandria shop is filled with the strumming of guitars, witty one-liners and raspy laughter. Upon entering the shop on Broadway, patrons know they are in for far more than a haircut. This is because the barbershop also doubles as a place where local musicians gather to play instruments and sing, and other patrons simply to listen.  “You get some words of wisdom here,” said patron Dwaine Johnson. Though the barbershop has been in Nelson’s family since 1969, the musical element is somewhat new. It evolved when the Guitar Shoppe opened next door. “Kyle kind of had an interest for music, and one day he just bought a guitar,” said Tacker, who has worked at the barbershop for 10 years. “(Guitar Shoppe owner) Shane (Delaney Dewald) had moved in next door and next thing I know, Kyle is taking guitar lessons from Shane. In a matter of no time he was playing songs, and I switched from playing drums to playing bass and we just started playing together.”[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2956764","attributes":{"alt":"From left, Guitar Shoppe employee Chuck Wencl, musician Wayne Allen and Guitar Shoppe owner Shane Dewald play music.","class":"media-image","height":"335","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]The two began leaving their personal guitars in the barbershop. Then customers took notice and began playing there. “Everyone in there likes music and it’s funny how many customers we have that actually play music,” Tacker said. “I run sound for a lot of bands and I know a lot of musicians. They come in and pick up the guitar and play.”Word of the musical atmosphere spread, and now the barbershop has a steady group of musicians that play at the shop. Even the mail carrier frequents the shop on his lunch break.Recently a group from the barbershop started playing publicly, making the occasional appearance at Common Ground Coffee Shop. Mark Moen of the local band Good Company also frequents the barbershop for the music aspect. “It’s a good place to hang out and have a lot of fun,” he said. “There’s a lot of good folks. It’s kind of like a family atmosphere.”In the two years since the Guitar Shoppe has been located next door, the relationship between the two shops has grown. Sometimes Tacker and Nelson will even help out guitar students.
“Sometimes they will bring their students over when it’s slow, if they're working on something, and we’ll accompany them with a number,” Tacker said. Dewald and Guitar Shoppe employee Chuck Wencl say the relationship between the two shops is one they didn’t expect, but something they both enjoy greatly. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Dewald, who has been giving guitar lessons for 17 years. “There’s actually a door that goes from the barbershop to next door, and basically the only time that door is ever shut is when there’s lessons.” According to Nelson, who has been cutting hair for 40 years, his employees, customers and the Guitar Shoppe keep the profession interesting.  “Cutting hair day in and day out gets kind of boring if not for the people,” he said. “You meet a lot of interesting people. You get to know a lot about people’s lives. If it wasn’t for that part of the job, it would be like working at a manufacturing place and doing the same thing over and over. … You meet a lot of characters.”

Related Topics: MUSICALEXANDRIA
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