Bolyer, Maurice

Maurice (Joseph) Bolyer (b Beaulieu). Banjoist, composer, b Edmundston, NB, of Acadian parents, 1 Dec 1920, d Toronto 18 Aug 1978. Bolyer, who was to become known as 'King of the Banjo,' began playing the instrument in his late teens with a country band in Edmundston after becoming proficient on various other string instruments and piano. He played on radio station CKCW, Moncton, NB, with Hank Snow in the early 1940s, and was heard regularly on the 'CKNX Barn Dance', from Wingham, Ont, in the late 1940s. He also performed on 'Main Street Jamboree' (CHML radio, Hamilton, Ont) and on various US TV shows, before joining the CBC's 'The Tommy Hunter Show' as a regular on radio 1963-5, and on TV from 1965 from until his death. A virtuoso of the banjo, Bolyer attempted in his last years to extend its stylistic range. He was interested, for example, in exploiting it as a solo (rather than rhythm) instrument in jazz. Several of his own tunes are included on his LPs King of the Banjo (Arc 252), Country Banjo (Banff SBS 5324), Golden Banjo Classics (Cachet 1005), and Pure Gold Banjo Favourites (RCA KNL-0108). He also may be heard on LPs by Hunter, Graham Townsend, and others. Bolyer was inducted posthumously into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989.