Jimmy Rankin leads sold out audience down memory lane

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Jimmy Rankin of the Rankin Family renown played two sold out shows at the Geomatic Attic, Oct. 9 and 10 in the middle of their Route 19 tour.

Jimmy Rankin playing the Geomatic Attic, Oct. 10 Photo by Richard Amery
 I only caught part of the Oct. 10 show in the sweltering Attic. I missed Mariel Buckley‘s opening set. But I enjoyed Jimmy Rankin and multi-instrumentalist Jamie Robinson, who took an enthusiastic audience on a journey down  memory lane. Rankin explained most of his songs were inspired by small towns on Route 19, the primary road across Cape Breton.

The duo began their set on acoustic guitars and started slowly with a pair of tenderly beautiful songs about snow and the north country painting vivid word pictures.


 He played several tracks of his latest CD “Movin’ East,” including one of my favourites, the upbeat country foot stomper “Been Away.”
 He had the audience singing along, clapping and interacting from the first note of his set.


 He chatted about growing up with his siblings in Mabou, Nova Scotia, forming the Rankin family and borrowing from his eldest sister in L.A. to fund their first cassette in 1989 , putting their mom’s address as the contact info, getting her to field phone calls, and then selling it to gas stations and grocery stores all over  Nova Scotia before they caught on with the rest of Canada, then played one of their earliest hits “Orangedale Whistle,” which Rankin noted lead to a lot of people traveling to Orangedale to see the train station in the song.
 Jamie Robinson switched to electric guitar to play a couple tasteful, Northern Pikes sounding solos and  picked up an electric mandolin for the more Celtic numbers.
 Rankin played a couple beautiful harmonica solos.


 He told the story behind a new song “Thin Ice,” prefacing it with the story  a time when people used to visit each other and  have tea, then of the  the main character John Dee, who always wore a black suit and  drowned   while walking in thin ice to get his hat which the wind blew onto the river.


 Rankin delved back into his solo catalogue and played an upbeat country song “Back Road Paradise.”


He prefaced that by talking about living in Nashville and deciding to move back home once his kids started talking with a southern accent and actually making the move after Donald Trump won the 2016 election, which drew cheers.


That song showed off Rankin’s lovely lilting tenor voice and allowed Jamie Robinson to lay down another face melting mandolin solo.
 He recorded the new album with Joel Plaskett and talked a little about that experience before playing another new song.


 I left during the rousing “Moving On,” as I didn’t want to miss Chron Goblin and Black Mastiff at the Owl Acoustic Lounge.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Friday, 11 October 2019 18:35 )