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Jeremy Tepper, SiriusXM’s Longtime Alt-Country Impresario, Dies at 60

Jeremy Tepper, SiriusXM’s Longtime Alt-Country Impresario, Dies at 60


Jeremy Tepper, who over an extended and different profession as a journalist, singer, label proprietor and radio producer championed the anarchic, high-energy music that straddled the strains separating nation, rock, punk and plain outdated Americana, died on June 14 in Queens. He was 60.

His spouse, the musician Laura Cantrell, mentioned the reason for demise, at Elmhurst Hospital, was a coronary heart assault.

Born in upstate New York and educated in Manhattan, Mr. Tepper was maybe an unlikely apostle for a method of music variously known as alt- or outlaw nation, however which he most popular to name “rig rock” — the form of sounds favored by long-haul truck drivers.

Far from the large hats and ostrich-skin boots of Nashville’s Lower Broadway, it’s the music one would possibly hear coming from honky-tonks, jukeboxes, truck stops and big-rig radios, the corners of Americana that Mr. Tepper celebrated with unironic pleasure.

“It is taking all that truck-driving music — streamlined, guitar-based nation rock — and dragging it onto the trendy interstate,” he advised Newsday in 1990.

Mr. Tepper was rig-rock’s best fan and largest booster. He wrote about it for publications like Pulse and The Journal of Country Music, and for his personal journal, Street Beat, which was devoted to jukeboxes and the music one present in them.

His document label, Diesel Only, promoted the careers of artists like Dale Watson, Ms. Cantrell and his personal band, the World Famous Blue Jays. It additionally launched compilations of truckin’ classics by artists like Buck Owens, Marty Stuart and Steve Earle.

“Jeremy was at all times joyful, type and gracious together with his effort and time,” mentioned the musician Jason Isbell. “So many people by no means would’ve discovered our viewers with out his tireless work and curiosity.”

Mr. Tepper was greatest identified for his roles at SiriusXM, first as a bunch within the early 2000s and, since 2004, because the programmer, producer and all-around impresario behind the Outlaw Country and Willie’s Roadhouse channels.

He introduced on musicians as D.J.s, together with Shooter Jennings, Elizabeth Cook and Mojo Nixon, to play an eclectic mix of Jimmie Rodgers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Lucinda Williams and the Old 97’s.

“Jeremy championed artists who coloured in and outdoors the strains of mainstream music,” mentioned Emmylou Harris, one other artist in heavy rotation on Mr. Tepper’s channels.

A ubiquitous presence at bars, festivals and award exhibits, he made connections and introductions, knitting collectively a group round his favourite music.

“He was the primary one to deliver me onto Willie Nelson’s bus and introduce me to him,” the musician Margo Price wrote in an electronic mail. “It was at Farm Aid in 2016. The first time I ever smoked a doobie with Willie, Jeremy Tepper was the one different individual on the bus with us.”

For the final decade, he corralled a lot of his favourite acts to hitch the Outlaw Country Cruise, a raucous, nine-day voyage across the Caribbean together with 1,200 excited followers — although nobody was extra excited to be there than Mr. Tepper.

“Jeremy beloved music greater than anyone else I’ve ever identified,” Mr. Earle mentioned in an electronic mail.

The love went past the music. Mr. Tepper relished the blue-collar tradition of the American freeway. While attending school within the Eighties, he labored half time for commerce magazines that catered to, or may very well be present in, the nation’s interstate pit stops, like Main Event, about professional wrestling, and Vending Times, centered on pinball machines, jukeboxes and all method of issues coin-operated.

During that point, he additionally fronted the World Famous Blue Jays, a rustic band that grew out of the mix of punk, rock and roots music that bubbled up from Manhattan’s East Village within the Eighties. He was, as Spin journal wrote in 1992, “a 28-year-old big of a person with a voice as thick as tar.”

Their songs celebrated the working-class lifetime of the open street, particularly the women and men piloting 18-wheelers backwards and forwards throughout the nation.

In one music, “Good Morning, Mr. Trucker,” Mr. Tepper exclaimed, “It’s not that I like driving — it’s the one factor I can do.”

Jeremy Evan Tepper was born on Nov. 18, 1963, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., the son of Noel Tepper, a lawyer, and Elly (Zeitlin) Tepper, an artist and educator.

His ardour for Americana bloomed throughout highschool, when he labored at a document retailer whereas additionally diving via his mother and father’ assortment of nation albums. Like many suburban boys of the late Nineteen Seventies and early ’80s, he was drawn to the manic energy of punk and post-punk music, and he discovered the same vitality within the likes of Johnny Cash, Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams.

He studied journalism at New York University. By then he was an editor for Modern Truck Stop, a commerce journal, in addition to Vending Times, the place he grew to become a senior editor after graduating in 1986. He based Diesel Only in 1990.

He married Ms. Cantrell in 1997. Along together with her, he’s survived by their daughter, Isabella; his mother and father; and his brother, Anderson.

Mr. Tepper remained a staple within the alt-country scene till his demise. On June 12, he was on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland for the opening of an exhibit devoted to his shut good friend Mojo Nixon.

And he continued to mount the stage, within the squatting, mike-to-mouth pose of a punk rocker, belting out joyfully bizarre songs about alien craft, barbecue and large rigs.

“This isn’t camp,” he advised Spin. “This is various nation music.”

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