Henri Lariviere, who, in later years became known as Hank Rivers, was born in Hawkesbury, Ontario. As a young laborer with little education, Hank entertained his co-workers in the relief camps of the Recession. His material was the popular folk and western songs of the day.
At the outbreak of World War II, the ever-patriotic Hank signed up and moved from the Prince of Wales Own Regiment to the Royal Canadian Ordinance Corps. A conversation with Roy Brown of Carleton Place, the legendary flying ace who had shot down Germany’s Red Baron, left a lasting impression that contributed to Hank’s love of his country. He soon became known as the "Singing Soldier" and recorded for RCA Victor. Some of Hank’s wartime hits included "Harrah for Camp Borden" and "Oh, But I’m Happy in the Army".
Hank’s meager three years of formal education were no impediment to an impressive writing career. His compositions drew on personal observation, and his narrations told stories of unrequited love. After the war, Hank returned to his Ottawa Valley and was popular in the watering holes on both banks of the river. He was also a popular addition to the greatest touring shows of the time and appeared with such stars as Doc Williams, Wilf Carter and Hank Snow. Package show appearances saw Hank share center stage with the likes of Hoot Gibson, Grandpa Jones and the legendary Hank Williams.
Hank considered his "Centennial Travels" album one of the major highlights of his career. This collection of ten songs celebrated the individual beauty and accomplishments of each of Canada’s provinces. His dedication to his country and to his Valley inspired Hank Rivers to write and sing from the heart. His legacy is a lasting tribute to the man.