Born Maurice Beaulieu, Maurice Bolyer, was a composer and musician known affectionately as “Canada’s King of the Banjo”. He began playing his chosen instrument in his late teens with a country band, after becoming proficient on various other string instruments and piano. He quickly became a regular on CKCW in Moncton, New Brunswick, appearing alongside Hank Snow in the 1940s and was regularly heard on the CKNX “Barn Dance”, being broadcast from Wingham, Ontario. Bolyer played on “Main Street Jubilee” on CHML in Hamilton, Ontario and on various US TV shows, before joining CBC Radio’s, “The Tommy Hunter Show” in 1963 and moving with him to TV in 1965 right until Bolyer’s death in 1978.
Considered by many to be a prodigy of the banjo, Bolyer wasn’t content to follow tradition, choosing instead to spend his last few years focusing on extending its stylistic range, mainly on exploiting it as a solo instrument in jazz through his own songs on his LPs, ‘King of the Banjo’, ‘Country Banjo’, ‘Golden Banjo Classics’ and ‘Pure Gold Banjo Favourites’, as well as on LPs by Tommy Hunter and Graham Townsend, among others.
Maurice Bolyer passed away on August 18, 1978 at the age of 57.