My name is Donald Teplyske, and I try to keep this blog-of-sorts as active as possible. The Fervor Coulee blog has been going now for ten years, and in reading the “About” feature recently, I figured it was due for an update. [Do me a favour, if you find a dead link, and there are many of them here at Fervor Coulee, please let me know.] I devote as much time as I can to Fervor Coulee and other outlets for which I espouse, but I am limited by talent, tech skills, and real life.
I am a freelance roots and bluegrass writer with reviews and features appearing regularly at The Lonesome Road Review. [Edit: Currently on haiatis, but reviews still available.] I also write for Country Standard Time and maintain there a sister blog to Fervor Coulee called Fervor Coulee Bluegrass. Until its demise, I also wrote for the fine publication Bluegrass Now for seven years, writing numerous reviews and a few features, one of which- on Dale Ann Bradley- was the cover story. I also had a twice-monthly roots column in the Red Deer Advocate for twelve years, but gave that up when we moved from the city.
I started my writing ‘career’ in 1984 with The Gateway, the University of Alberta Students’ Union newspaper, with a review of Tina Turner’s comeback album Private Dancer. It was pretty bad. My writing skills have only improved a little since then.
I am honoured to be a member of the large Polaris Music Prize voting group. This is a group of music writers, journalists, broadcasters, and such charged with the responsibility of listening to, nominating, and eventually shortlisting the ‘best Canadian album of the year.’ So far, those I back haven’t fared so well, but I’ll keep advocating for the roots music albums I believe are worthy of consideration. Some years I am honoured to be chosen as a Juno Awards judge in various roots categories.
The highlight for me, so far, was being asked to write the liner notes for James Reams & the Barnstormers’ One Foot In the Honky Tonk album. That, and being accused of being intolerant of white, Christian southern men because I don’t see the humour in the song “Old Bicycle Chain.”
I no longer have as much time available to write, but I like to kid myself that the quality has never been stronger.
Please contact me at email@example.com if you have a project I should consider for review.
I now live and write in the lovely County of Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada.
My listening is all over the place and often includes folks like Guy Clark, Joy Lynn White, Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys, Fred Eaglesmith, The Who, Pat Travers Band, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Rachel Sweet, Amy Black, Maria Dunn, Mike Plume Band, The Small Faces, Kim Beggs, Hoyt Axton, Gillian Welch, John Paul Keith, Murray McLauchlan, Katrina Leskanich (my first memorable interview!), Kimberley Rew, and Katrina & the Waves, Kashtin, John Wort Hannam, Steve Forbert, Kirsty MacColl, Doc Watson, Mickey Jupp, The Kinks, Dale Ann Bradley, Bob Walkenhorst and The Rainmakers, Kate Campbell, Hazel Dickens, Alice Gerrard, Hazel & Alice, Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul, Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands, Mark Erelli, The Monkees (the first band I really remember liking, and if only I still had my lunch box and thermos from Grade 1,) Three Dog Night (my second favourite band,) Kate Bush, Emmylou Harris, John Stewart, Marshall Chapman, Rory Block, Kathy Kallick Band, The Travelin’ McCourys, Del & ‘Em, Gary US Bonds, Lacy J. Dalton, Northern Cree, George Jones, Willie Dunn, Z. Z. Hill, Pete Seeger, Northern Soul, First Nations, and Country Soul compilations, James Reams & the Barnstormers, Jackie DeShannon, Otis Gibbs, Suzi Quatro, Joan Armatrading, Janis Ian, Brandy Clark, Josh Ritter, Northern Cree, Prefab Sprout, Bobbie Gentry, Claude McKenzie, Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, The SteelDrivers, Chris Jones & the NightDrivers, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, The Goins Brothers, Rodney Crowell, and much more. Yes, I spend much too much time listening to music. But, it is what I do when I’m not teaching, eating, watching television, reading, or sleeping. I am most attracted to music that hits me in the belly…and that is a fairly large target…but little hits dead center.
What I always come back to is roots music: classic folk singers, blazing bluegrass pioneers, Texas singer-songwriters, real blues music, modern acoustiblue innovators, striped down reworkings of rock staples, country singers from when country singers sang country, music from the land of the Scots, ‘world’ music (whatever that is), Americana…these are the musics I love. And they are the music I choose to write about in the hopes of sharing something that causes someone to seek out music they might not have otherwise encountered.
I hope I’m able to add something to your day- a gravel road you can embark down while exploring your own musical journey.
I want Fervor Coulee to be a place where I can share my writing and thoughts about roots music. Some of the writing will be material published elsewhere, and some of it will be exclusive to the site. I have sixteen years of writing in my archives, and I hope to add-over time-some of the sharper pieces I’ve written.
I deliberately do not use a ‘rating’ system for my reviews.
About the name: Fervor was the name of the first Jason & the Scorchers album…alright, the first nationally released Jason & the Scorchers album…and was a significant album for me on first listen. As far as I can tell, when I first heard the album at work (ROW Entertainment, Edmonton) my music path was forever altered. Coulee, is a coulee and I was raised-for a while- near one. Fervor Coulee
I appreciate everyone who reads my writing, every artist who sends me their music, every publicist and label that keep me semi-current.
Follow me on the Twitter at @FervorCoulee. Thanks for visiting- Donald
I also maintain a blog of my creative non-fiction and fiction writing FervorCouleeFiction. I use the word ‘maintain’ very abstractly.