by Stephen Dafoe
The Morinville Community Cultural Centre was Jimmy Rankin’s mid-month stop on his Back Road Paradise Tour Thursday night.
Approximately 300 came out to hear the famed East Coast musician perform songs from his past and current albums, the latter the most country Rankin has recorded to date.
Though Rankin’s latest album, Back Road Paradise, includes assistance from Allison Krauss and Jim Cuddy or Blue Rodeo fame, Rankin’s Morinville stop had only the adept assistance of Dartmouth guitarist Jamie Robinson.
Though devoid of the larger backup band many performers have brought to the Morinville stage, the mix of acoustic and electric guitar on Rankin’s numbers had the audience clapping and singing along. Rankin and Robinson showed the depth and range two guitars can accomplish when put in the hands of experts.
It is an expected expertise. The 50-year-old singer/songwriter has been in the business for half of his life, working with his internationally known siblings as the Rankin Family, and as a successful solo artist.
His first solo album, Song Dog, was released in 2001. Since that time, Rankin has released another five albums, including last year’s Back Road Paradise.
The current album consists of 12 original songs, including Cool Car; a number Rankin performed Thursday night.
Rankin followed Thursday night’s tour stop with a visit to Coronation and Grand Prairie. He returns to the road in April when he will do a number of shows in Saskatchewan.