Paul Teerlinck

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Paul Teerlinck and I first crossed paths in 1990 in Nashville, Tennessee. The community of Madison, to be exact. Paul and I became friends in the truest sense, and remain so. Early on I learned that Paul was originally from Minnesota, had served a hitch in the army, had hiked the Appalachian Trail, and was employed within the mental health field. I did not yet know he was a songwriter.

We were very different yet very alike. The differences were superficial and inconsequential to our friendship; the similarities ran a bit deeper. In particular, we were both “seekers” of a sort, intellectually and spiritually—and we each had an awareness of the difference.

In 1994 my second son was born. He is named Paul. Around that time Paul Teerlinck moved to Florida.  He would move several more times, as would I  (We also share nomadic tendencies.) Although initially these events took place prior to social media, Paul told me we “would keep finding each other.” He has been right. Our paths continue to cross, literally and otherwise.

Partially because of my Nashville roots, I have known scores of musicians of all sorts and conditions over the years. I suppose Paul Teerlinck falls into the “singer-songwriter” category, and he brings a purity to the craft. He is a troubadour in the classic sense, moving through the world on the rhythm of his latest song while humming the tune of his next.

He writes and sings of love, loss, redemption, the inner struggle, and the paths to peace, among a myriad of themes. In the grand country folk tradition, Paul typically accompanies himself with acoustic guitar and occasionally harmonica, letting his voice be the lead instrument. As a musician he demonstrates a clear sense of self, never attempting to reach beyond the limits of his talents. He finds the spot and plays it well. When he goes to the studio he frequently enlists the aid of talented musicians to augment the steady rhythms and harmonies of his compositions.

The gallery of songs presented by Canopic Jar are culled from the albums Build a Better World and Steady and Strong. The musicians include Tom Moncrief (guitars, bass, dobro, organ, percussion, drums, horns, and vocals), Annie McLoone (vocals, keyboards, and harmonica), Frank Utecht (drums), Steve McLoone (percussion), Mike Stidolph (peddle steel, fiddle, mandolin, and banjo), Ruby Nordby, Patti Darbo, Bill Lanik, and Corey Tackmann (backing vocals).

—Phil Rice

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Paul Teerlinck jamming with Paul Rice, Woodstock, Il., 2015