Local country music legend earns Hall of Fame status

Par Raymond Berthiaume
Local country music legend earns Hall of Fame status
Daniel Loyer

Despite being just 65, for the better half of a century, Loyer, a guitarist and bass player, has performed in country bars and clubs around the region with more than 30 different bands. Having spent the vast majority of his life playing music, it is no surprise the local country music legend is being recognized for his contribution.

Now hailing from Rockland with his wife Jane Wyman, Loyer was born in Ottawa, a middle child in a house with 16 other musically inclined siblings, a trait his said runs in his mother’s family.

The house was always filled with country music from George Jones to Merle Haggert and Willie Nelson. But his fascination with guitar really started by watching his decades older brother and a friend jam, entranced by their guitar playing.

“I just sort of sat and stared at what he was doing,” said Loyer. “Eventually it just sort of caught on.”

He soon picked up the guitar, often sneaking practice sessions when his brother wasn’t around until he got one of his own.

“I didn’t know he was placing the picks in a certain spot, so he knew whenever I played it,” remembers Loyer. “I always got an earful from him.”

Loyer started getting lessons from a family friend who taught him what it meant to be a lead guitarist. Remarkably, by just 12 years old, Loyer joined his brothers on stage in clubs all over Ottawa.

“We used to play four hours’ worth of half-hour sets,” said Loyer. “After every set I had to run to the kitchen because I was too young to be in the bar.”

“But, they fed me well anyways.”

Though he has outlived many of the bars he played in as a child and young man, Loyer has become a stalwart, a near permanent fixture, of the region’s music scene. The 65-year-old Rockland-based truck driver and his guitar are still making appearances in bars and clubs around the Ottawa valley and Gatineau.

The twang of his steel lap guitar is easily recognizable to the most diehard local country fans, a unique blend of modern country sounds, blended with the early classic influences of his childhood like Twitty and Haggert.

Now Loyer’s commitment to music will be forever etched in stone as he is inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame, one of four inductees for the class of 2023.

“It’s a real honour,” said Loyer, who wasn’t expecting the accolade. “It’s a beautiful recognition.”

On September 24, Loyer will be officially inducted. The event, held at the Meridian Theatres @ Centrepointe in Ottawa, will include entertainment from more than 20 local performers from across the Ottawa Valley celebrating the newest class of inductees.

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