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by “Rattler” (Paul Meyers)

Republished from June 1994

The Bud Country Talent Search has come and gone for another year and, alas, we have the same result (a last place finish). I attended some of the functions—the talent was good and we had a winner. And that of course is what talent contests are all about—winners, and where they will go and what they will do after winning. I spoke with some of the former winners and I came to the conclusion that here we do not develop our talent, we just sort of let it happen.

Now that’s all right if you just want to sing or play for your own entertainment, but on the other hand, if you want to make a career out of your talent then you had better work at it. In Canada we finally learned after thirty-some years that we couldn’t win a gold medal in world hockey until we developed a professional team with coaching from those that know how to win. Let’s go back to the Island music scene—we are not untalented but we are unprepared.

Let us go back to what I’ve said before. Don’t tell someone they are good and then leave them alone to find out for themselves that being a musician or entertainer takes long hours of preparation, dedication and hard work to say nothing of planning and goals.

I went to Myron’s and heard this year’s winner, Eddy Quinn from Cardigan, and I told some fellow musicians that I believed him to be an excellent singer with good stage presence and a real potential singer—and he is just that. However, when Eddy got to Fredericton he encountered what he should have been told here. No excuses in this world will win you a talent contest. Only talent and preparation will do that.

Eddy Quinn and all the other future Eddy Quinns should be like the boy scouts and “Be Prepared,” and give yourselves a chance to win. All you have to do is search out those who know. PEI has plenty of musicians and entertainers who have been down that road ahead of you and would only be too glad to share their knowledge. Gene MacLellan once said to me “Keep going because you never know what lies ahead for you.” So Eddy, for what it’s worth, don’t let the results of the contest set you back—and as for help‚ just ask. Until next month, keep picking.

Since this column ran, Eddy Quinn has certainly kept going—as we all know—winning awards, fronting the award-winning Fiddlers’ Sons, producing the very successful Close To The Ground concerts, and putting out excellent solo albums filled with songs already taking their place in the musical heritage of PEI. He must have taken The Rattler to heart.

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