When I first met Hank Karr back in 1965, he was the hottest property to hit the Yukon since sourdough pancakes and fresh oranges. He was a ball of musical energy. This Saskatchewan-born son of the soil could deliver any song with ease. Ballads, pop, country, story songs – Hank handled them all.
He had a stage presence so natural, it belied his shyness underneath. Hank Karr did not blow his own horn. He didn’t have to. Whenever he performed, fans and friends would be there to sing along and dance.
Our friendship began when we were recording this first pan-Northern CBC Radio series called Northern Jamboree in the sixties — first in the ballroom of the old Whitehorse Inn, and later in the CBC studios on Third Avenue. From then, and during Canada’s centennial year (1967) when he represented the Yukon at Expo in Montreal, until today, Hank Karr has been a great ambassador for the Territory.
And through the years, he has never forgotten those fans who gave him undying loyalty. To this day, Hank Karr represents a good song well sung. Hank’s voice remains true to the country music sound he enjoys. He is an ambassador of Yukon and its music world-wide.
His CDs and DVD are testaments to the fact that a performer doesn’t have to leave the Yukon to succeed in the music world. He was once asked why he didn’t go to Nashville to make it. His reply was true to his philosophy.
"The Yukon," said Hank "is my Nashville."
And so, as the famous Yukon balladeer celebrates his 70th birthday, his friends know there will be many more songs and stories to come before, during and “After Yukon”.
A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin