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Orléans piano store owner to be inducted into Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Twenty-four years after playing his last gig, legendary steel guitar player Quincy Damphousse (left) will be inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame next month along with his older brother Roger. Fred Sherwin/Photo

For the past 23 years Claude “Quincy” Damphousse has led a mild mannered life as the owner of Quincy Damphousse Pianos on Youville Drive.

Prior to 1983, however, he led the life of professional musician, playing for a variety of country bands in hotel bars up and down the Ottawa Valley.

Next month the piano store owner will be inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame along with his brother Roger for their contributions to the local country music scene during the 1970s.

When Quincy found out tat he was being inducted into the Hall of Fame, he thought someone was trying to play a joke on him.

“I said, ‘You got to be kidding. I haven’t performed in 24 years,’ ” says Quincy.

Quincy and Roger grew up in a musical family in Vanier. The two brothers learned to play a variety of instruments along with their sister Helen from a relatively young age.

“Back then we only had two or three channels on the TV and there was no Nintendo or Playstation, all we had in the house was music and the old man taught us all how to play,” says Quincy.

As they were growing up the Damphousses would play at occasional family events and barn dances.

During the early years Quincy mostly played guitar and bass. His first live performance was with Joe Teevens at the Paugan Inn in Low, Quebec. He was only 16 at the time, but he had caught the bug.

For the next five years he played with a variety of bands in and around Ottawa. Then in 1970, he was invited to go on tour with the Honey West Show, which at the time was fronted by Wayne Rostad.

Prior to heading out on tour he was given the stage name Quincy by Honey West founder Terry “Chiefy” Morin because it sounded better. It has stuck with him ever since.

While he was with the Honey West Show, Quincy learned to play steel guitar from band mate Al Brisco. He would often practice up to five or six hours a day and soon developed his own unique style.

In 1974 he got a call from Irwin Prescott of the Prescott Brothers who was looking for a steel guitar player to play at the Golden Rail in the old Lafontaine Hotel in Vanier.

Prescottt was so impressed with Damphousse’s playing, that he offered him a full-time gig with the band.

Quincy would remain with the Prescott Brothers for the next 11 years until he retired in 1983. During that time he gained a reputation as one of the best steel guitar players in the business.

“I never played it like it was supposed to be played,” Quincy explains. “I had all kinds of contraptions hooked up to it. I could make it sound like a rock and roll organ or pretty well anything I wanted.

Quincy still remembers the day he decided to walk away from the music business like it was yesterday. He had gotten a call from his wife who told him she was pregnant with twins.

“That was it. At the time I was working for Ken Parisien Pianos and the Ottawa School Board had offered me a contract to maintain 55 pianos, which paid a lot better than being a musician,” says Quincy.

A year later Quincy celebrated the twins’ arrival by opening his own piano business in Orléans.

Since leaving the country music scene 24 years ago, Quincy has played at the occasional family gathering, but that’s about it and since then he’s stuck to playing the dobro guitar.

More recently he’s taken up the five string banjo which he plans to play at the induction ceremony on Sept. 30.

“I’m going to be nervous a little bit, but I’m not scared. I know what it takes to do it, that’s why we’re practicing a lot of hours. We want it to sound like a professional band. We don’t want to disappoint the people,” says Quincy.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)



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