The pride of his life

Josh LaRue quit his bands to support his family. With his record store, he found room in his heart for music, family


Iris LaRue

Joshua LaRue holds up a record he enjoys playing at his record store, Breakaway Records, and at home. LaRue often expands his collection by working at Breakaway because he gets the first pick of the records they buy daily. He has over 500 12-inch records now but his collection continues to grow.

Iris LaRue, Mac photojournalism

In the heart of Austin, lives Breakaway Records.

As you step into the shop, you get a mix of the smell of old and new. Around you are shelves and shelves of records, all alphabetized and organized by genre.

He played in many bands and went on tours all around the world, until one day he met the love of his life.

The customers flip through the records, most absent-mindedly looking for a vinyl that catches their eye.

If you go deeper into the store, you see a middle age man with many tattoos standing behind a long wooden counter, pricing records.

Most people pass him without a second glance, but if you stop to ask, he’ll tell you how he got there.

Joshua LaRue was born in a small town in Texas and raised by his sister and mother.

From a young age, Josh had to be independent. His mom had to work and his father wasn’t around.

Josh joined marching band in middle school and fell in love with music. He stayed in band through high school and went to college for music.

Josh played in bands outside of college and got an opportunity to join a band in Washington DC. So Josh finished college and moved to DC.

He played in many bands and went on tours all around the world, until one day he met the love of his life, Jamie.

She lived in Chicago, and he would write to her from wherever he was in the world.

Breakaway Records, is the pride of Josh’s life, along with his two daughters.

He asked her to marry him with a ring he bought on tour.

He quit being in bands after his first daughter was born and became a landscaper in DC to support his family.

He moved back across the country to Texas again, but he couldn’t make a living off of playing in bands.

He met a man who was opening a record store in Austin, and they came together to make the dream come true.

The record store, named Breakaway Records, is the pride of Josh’s life, along with his two daughters.

He still plays in bands, but not for money.

He has his own music room in his house, where he practices drums and guitar.

He spends six days a week at the record store, pricing records, talking to customers, and taking care of his shop, making Austin what it is today.

If you go deeper inside Breakaway Record, you might see Joshua LaRue standing behind a long wooden counter, pricing records (Iris LaRue).

Editor’s note:The digital media students wrote 300-word stories that emulated the feature profiles written by Brady Dennis for the St. Petersburg Times in the mid-2000s. Shield co-editor in chief Alice Scott prepared a master class on Dennis’ stories for the newspaper staff, and adviser Dave Winter was so impressed with the lesson that he changed his feature profile assignment based on what Scott taught the staff about Dennis’ stories. As a result, we have a collection of wonderful short profiles—including this profile of Breakaway Records owner Joshua LaRue—that are well-crafted, powerful and straight from the heart.