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Jimmy Rankin goes country

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Jimmy Rankin, best known for being part of Nova Scotia folk superstars the Rankin Family, has gone country on his brand new fourth solo CD “Forgot About the World,” which was released April 12. He is playing a late announced show at the Geomatic Attic, May 14.

“It’s been really well received. We’re getting a lot of good feedback about it. Country radio is playing “Here in My Heart,” and it‘s getting some really great reviews,” Rankin said from a tour stop in Toronto.

He noted his previous CD was very much a roots CD, so he wanted to take this one to the next level.
“I wanted to write some songs that could be played on the radio,” he said.Jimmy Rankin returns to Lethbridge, Saturday. Photo by Richard Amery

While most of the CD is in the modern pop-country vein, Rankin re-examines his folk roots on “Colorado Dave” which is a reinterpretation of an old folk story about a man who left Nova Scotia in the 1800’s and moved to Colorado and got hooked up with the James Gang before escaping and returning home to live with his mom.

 He also has a duet with Serena Ryder, who helps sing “Walk That Way.”

“When I wrote the song, I immediately thought of Serena. I’ve been a fan of Serena’s for a long time. She‘s an amazing singer. I love singers who are so soulful,” he continued.
“So I feel fortunate I got her to sing on my record.”

While he is concentrating on supporting his new solo album, another reunion tour and possibly another album with the rest of the Rankin Family may also be in the cards.

“In fact about four years ago, we reunited after an eight year hiatus. We got together and did some shows. We had an absolutely great response,” he continued. They recorded two CDs after reuniting and are considering a third.
“It’s possible, but we haven’t done anything other than discuss it,” he said.

He is looking forward to his first solo show in Lethbridge, as the last time he was here, he was opening for country superstar Keith Urban.

“It will be the best of both worlds. There will be some Rankin Family songs and some solo songs from throughout my career,” he said.

“ I like to keep the sets pretty skeletal. If people call out requests, if I can remember them, I’ll play them,” he said.
“It will be a lot of everything. The show is like a roller coaster, well played and it is definitely a fun event,” Rankin said.
“I like playing these smaller shows, you can really create a nice rapport with the audience.”

Rankin will be touring with his guitarist Jamie Robinson, who he has been working with for many years. He met him through the close knit Halifax music scene.


“He’s an awesome guitar player. The circle is pretty small there, so I know him from there. We’ve been working together for 10 years, we’ve played together enough that we can go off in any direction we want,” he said noting the songs have to be able to work in a stripped down way when played live.
“ I can play all my songs with just an acoustic guitar or a cappella,  stripped down to what the song really stands for,” he said. The songs range in style, musically and lyrically.
“ I did a lot of collaborations with other musicians. I had about 30 songs, so I went through them and decided which ones worked best and trimmed them down to the 12 on the CD,” he said adding working with other songwriters is different. A lot of the time, they spend time discussing the ideas behind the songs.

“This time I spent a lot of time on the lyrics, coming up with something that just rolls off the tongue. I wanted to craft some really strong lyrics,” he continued.

With such a vast catalogue of music to draw from, you’d think there’d be some trouble remembering lyrics, especially with the audience calling out random requests.

“Not really. It’s like an adventure and it‘s a lot of fun. Especially if you’re performing them in concert every night. You repeat them and lyrics are like poetry. You try to form them so they just roll off the tongue so the lines naturally follow each other. It’s like word association,” he continued.

Though his CD has just been released, he is already “planting the seeds” for the next one.
“That’s just what I do. I write songs, then record them then play them for the world. And I love every part of it.”
Jimmy Rankin plays the Geomatic Attic, April 14 at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $25 for members, $27.50 for non-members and $30 at the door.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
A version of this story appears in the May 11,2011 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 May 2011 10:34 )  
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