Trucker Talent Search preview — the performers, their hauling histories and songs

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Updated Aug 29, 2020
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So much can come from a song, and its connection to the work that its writer or performer does otherwise. The culture forged and re-forged by a different sort of connection, between the individual performers who’ve taken part in Overdrive/Red Eye Radio’s Trucker Talent Search over the years, and hopefully those among you who have the opportunity to really make a similar connection with them through their work, well … for this writer’s money, the Talent Search effort since its very first year has always felt among the more meaningful work I’ve been involved in here.

This year, it’s different, given the Great American Trucking Show’s cancellation amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Nonetheless, it’s happening, and in this edition of Overdrive Radio, we’re taking a tour through each individual performer’s route to the search and histories in music and trucking with Red Eye Radio’s Eric Harley.

For his part, Eric Harley follows in the footsteps the late-great Bill Mack in his position at WBAP in Texas in the overnight slot. In his interview with Talent Search contestant Paul Cullers of Dayton, Ohio, Harley invoked something that I feel like, given Mack’s recent passing, is a meaningful testament — and dead-on when it comes to parts of our motivation in this long-running contest and the connections it’s helped build between those in the trucking community with an interest in music and culture.

Harley described Mack’s own songwriting, and his inspiration to his own listeners who had a selfsame interest. “I like to think,” Harley said, “that there’s a little bit of Bill Mack’s spirit living in this contest.”

We hope the event thrives for the foreseeable future, and that you’re a part of it.

Tune in via Overdrive‘s Facebook page this Friday, August 28, at 7 p.m. Central for the final performance from talent finalists Freddy French, Paul Cullers and John Malayter. The main portion of the competition will be bookended by some wind-up and cool-down entertainment from these trucking-music leading lights, both past Talent Search participants in a variety of ways themselves: our own contributing writer “Long Haul Paul” Marhoefer and the one and only Tony Justice. Preview it all with Harley and the competing haulers here:

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