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Donald Teplyske I have been a roots and bluegrass music writer for twenty years, having also hosted bluegrass radio and presented concerts. I currently write for Country Standard Time and Exclaim! while maintaining a blog at I'm proud to be a member of the Polaris Music Prize Jury. Please contact me at

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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, 2020

Donald Teplyske  |  September 25, 2020

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, an annual three-day celebration of Americana roots music—including a little bluegrass—is one of my personal favourite events. Living far from San Francisco, I can't attend each year, but I have made the journey every tenth-year in a row...okay, I've been twice—in 2009 and 2019—so I wasn't scheduled to attend this coming October, as ...

IBMA, 2020 Hall of Fame: more of the same?

Donald Teplyske  |  June 26, 2020

The International Bluegrass Music Association announced its 2020 award nominees today. I'll comment on the individual nominees at some point, but it was interesting to see the Male Vocalist of the Year ballot was filled with an exciting cross-section of modern bluegrass, revealing the breadth of today's invigorating contemporary sounds: Ronnie Bowman, Del McCoury, Danny Paisley, Russell ...

Chicago Barn Dance Another winning album from Special Consensus

Donald Teplyske  |  May 14, 2020

Special Consensus "Chicago Barn Dance" Compass Records I trace the path my brothers laid before me Swapped a record for the oil on my shoes Now my eyes burn from the sting And a fiddle haunts my dreams And a lonely song is playing-it's called, the East Chicago Blues. -"East Chicago Blues," Robbie Fulks The southern dysphoria to northern states is ...

Donald Teplyske's Favourite Bluegrass Albums of 2019

Donald Teplyske  |  December 17, 2019

2019 saw a range of quality bluegrass albums released, and they were coming at me for review so quickly at times that I may not have had time to hear your favourite. Of the many bluegrass albums I heard in 2019, these are my favourites. As always, these are 'favourites,' not 'best,' based on what I heard, and-as important-after positions five-six-or-so, titles could be flipped ...

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, 2019

Donald Teplyske  |  October 8, 2019

I'm old. I'm okay with being old. I 'celebrated' my fifty-fifth birthday this past spring, and I am entirely fine with my age, with the extra grey hair and the creaking knees, and even with the additional puffiness around my eyes and my cheeks. I'm at the age where I am entirely comfortable admitting that I don't care for things for which I don't care, and ...

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