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Lots happening in Cape Breton music scene

Cape Breton Post

Dan MacDonald Published on June 01, 2016

Heather Rankin and Kim Darticle-1unn both release CDs

Heather Rankin and Kim Dunn were in town a few weeks back, performing at the Highland Arts Theatre as part of their double CD release tour.

“A Fine Line” is Heather’s first solo CD and she’s using it to make her own musical mark. An eclectic recording, much of it was written by David Tyson (famous for his work with Alannah Myles, Celine Dion, and others), mostly in conjunction with Heather.

The songs vary from the introspective “We Walk As One” (with siblings Cookie and Jimmy) to a remake of the 1985 Tears for Fears hit “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (with Quake Matthews). These are two of my favourites, along with the title cut and “Valentine,” a beautiful piece in a nice waltz timing. The music is light in spots, lush in others, mostly laid-back but with enough popish/upbeat material to keep it interesting, with everything driven by David Tyson’s great piano work and Heather’s exquisite voice.

• • •

With a great voice and musical skill that makes him one of the most in demand East Coast touring musicians on the go today, Kim Dunn is noted for quietly making everybody sound good. His latest CD, “Inspiration,” (another piano-driven recording) is a continuation of his great work.

The writer or co-writer of all but one of the 11 cuts on “Inspiration,” the style ranges from jazz to blues to swing. I’m hooked on “Day By Day” and swinging gospel-style “Reprise” that follows it but I’m particularly taken by the title cut (Kim’s soul-bearing ode to writing), and “Letting Go” (dedicated to his parents). In both he hangs his musical emotions out there for all to hear.

“A Fine Line” and “Inspiration” are two great recordings worthy of inclusion in any collection from a pair of very talented people. In both cases you may want to pour yourself a glass of something and just let it and the music soak in.

• • •

I was on the road the past few weekends and ended up at Governors, Iona’s Frolic & Folk Pub, and Judique’s Celtic Music Interpretive Centre. Colin Grant and Jason MacDonald cranked out tunes and songs at Governors last Saturday, while Howie MacDonald, Brenda Stubbert and Hilda Chiasson provided great music for Iona’s May 21 session. In Judique, Allan Dewar handled the piano chores behind fiddler Donna-Marie DeWolfe (with Hailee Lefort) on May 22, and Brent Aucoin (with Joe MacMaster) on May 29. What a great way to spend an afternoon!
• • •

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the late Jimmy MacInnis who ran the West Mabou dances for many years. He always had the best of talent on stage, and always found a spot for the young players to get some time in. Jimmy was a friend to everyone and he got sent off in style, with 18 fiddlers playing for a square set after his funeral. He will be missed!

• • •

Coming up:

Highland Arts Theatre, Sydney

Saturday and Sunday, 7 p.m. – The Highland Tenors.

Friday, June 17, 7:30 p.m. – Lifeline Syria: Gordie Sampson, Keith Mullins, Old Man Luedecke, Kalolin Johnson.

Saturday, June 25, 7 p.m. – Keith Mullins CD Release.

Savoy Theatre, Glace Bay

Saturday, 2 p.m. – 51st Forrester School of Dance Annual Celebration of Dance.

Monday, 7 p.m. – Jessie Cook.

Thursday, June 16, 7 p.m. – My Big Fat Glace Bay Wedding (Dinner Theatre).

Membertou Trade & Convention Centre

Wednesday, June 8, 7:30 p.m. – A Cape Breton Tribute to Merle Haggard: Todd Hines, Michael Lloyd, John Curtis Sampson, Robert Bouchard and the All-Star Band.

Thursday, June 23, 8 p.m. – Thom Swift CD Release (Kiju’s).

Wednesdays, 6 p.m. – Celtic Serenade Jam Sessions.

Louisbourg Playhouse

June 9-10 – Roots to Boots Festival.

Branch 12 Legion, Sydney

Saturday, June 11 – Dance: Howie MacDonald and friends.

CBU Boardmore Playhouse

Sunday, June 12, 2:30 p.m. – Spring Into Summer: Second Wind Community Concert Band and friends.

Boisdale Firehall

Saturday, June 18 – Keltic Drive.

Centre 200, Sydney

Saturday, June 18 – Lobsterfest: The Irish Descendants, Colin Grant, Clockwork, Mike Wadden, Bobbie Currie, Andrew Doyle, Cory Keeping, childrens activities.

Dan MacDonald is a former Inverness County native who has been involved with the Cape Breton and East Coast music scene for over 40 years. He can be reached at