CLAUDETTE LEFEBVRE & BILLY O’BOIE (2002 Inductees)

Claudette Lefebvre was born in Ottawa and knew, from the age of 12, when she first heard the CFRA Happy Wanderers on the radio, that she wanted to be a country music singer. While attending a live performance by the Happy Wanderers in the radio station’s studio, Claudette was asked to audition as a "girl singer" and was subsequently hired by Ken Reynolds to work with the band. She was 13 years old at the time, and Claudette’s mother gave her permission, provided Ken would act as her chaperone. Claudette performed with the Wanderers for several years, subsequently forming her own band, "The Country Jewels" at the age of 17. The four-piece band worked all over the Ottawa Valley and entertained across the country, breaking a number of house records on the circuit in which they traveled. As well as being a singer, Claudette is also a songwriter and a musician who plays guitar, electric bass and drums.

Billy O’Boie (Paradosky) was born into a musical family in Winnipegosis, Manitoba. His father played the violin, his mother, the harmonica, and his brother and one sister, the guitar. Billy became adept at finger-style guitar, following in the footsteps of his idol, Chet Atkins. Billy’s career began at age 14, playing for dances in and around his home town. At age 18, Billy was hired in Winnipeg to play guitar for the Lauzon Brothers and moved to Ottawa to continue his association with that band. He then auditioned for, and was hired by Claudette Lefebvre as lead guitar player in the "Country Jewels" band. That association worked out so well that Billy and Claudette became man and wife, and carried on the band for the rest of Billy’s career, until he became ill with cancer and passed away on April 14, 1999 at the age of 58. Billy was an exceptional singer and songwriter (as well as being the band tailor, making suits for the musicians and stage wear for Claudette). Billy is also well known for his invention, "the Shovel-Tone Guitar", and tonight’s audience will learn more about that very interesting instrument.

After she lost Billy, Claudette retired from the music business for a time but never really left it in her heart and missed performing very much. As she gives credit to Ken Reynolds for giving her a start in the music business, she also credits Ralph Carlson and WRD with providing the impetus to re-start her career by inviting her to perform as a guest, from time to time, with their band. She has subsequently formed "The Country Jewels II", a duo that plays regularly at various venues in and around Ottawa.


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