Both his parents had musical talent and Hank picked up his basic guitar-playing skills from his mother. In 1926, Hank went to sea as a 12-year-old cabin boy on fishing schooners based out of Lunenburg to escape his abusive step-father and never returned to school. With his first earned income he bought his first guitar, a T. Eaton Special for $5.95. While at sea, Hank would listen to Jimmie Rodgers on the radio and began to imitate him and entertain the crew. It wasn't long before Hank had picked up his own style.
He entertained friends and neighbors and quickly developed excellent skills as a musician and entertainer at kitchen parties and neighborhood picnics.
His professional career started at CHNS Radio in Halifax in 1933 where he had his own radio show. He changed his name to "Hank, The Yodeling Ranger" because it sounded more western. Throughout the 30s and 40s he toured the Maritimes and Western Canada playing at county fairs and local radio stations.
On September 2nd 1935 Hank Snow married Minnie Blanche Aalders, who stayed with Hank through all the hard, traveling years and beyond. Hank and Minnie had one son together, Jimmie Rodgers Snow (named after Hank's idol Jimmie Rodgers), who also traveled with them and eventually joined Hank on stage on numerous occasions.
In 1936 he made his first recording in Montreal with RCA Victor's Bluebird label and signed a contract that would last 47 years, the longest continuous contract in the history of the recording industry.