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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. Read More

Rankin and Dunn Perform New Material At Strathspey Place

The Inverness Oran

John Gillis

IMGMusic fans who missed Heather Rankin and Kim Dunn’s concert last Saturday Evening at Strathspey Place missed a stellar show from two Cape Breton musicians, both with brand new CDs, who compliment each other extremely well onstage.

Dunn opened the show, backed by bassist Ron Hynes and guitarist Jamie Robinson with Don’t Cry Helena, perhaps the strongest cut off his new recording, Inspiration. Read More

Rankin brings sweet sound to the Marigold Cultural Centre

Truro Daily

TRURO – A crowd of more than 160 at the Marigold Cultural Centre on Thursday heard the angelic voice of Heather Rankin.

articleThe singer/songwriter from Mabou, Cape Breton, was in Truro performing songs from her debut solo album, A Fine Line, which she released on April 1.

Rankin spent 10 years performing with her siblings with the award-winning group, The Rankin Family, before going it alone with A Fine Line.

The Marigold was the last stop for Rankin on a six-concert album tour.

She teamed up on the tour with fellow Cape Breton musician, Kim Dunn, who also recently released a new album called Inspiration.

Heather Rankin goes it alone with debut album

Truro Daily News 

Raissa Tetanish

Heather RankinTRURO – Heather Rankin never saw herself as a solo artist.

But the launch of her debut album, “A Fine Line,” in April changed that.

“My entire musical career has been with my family around me. They were my musical outlet,” said Rankin.

The 11th of 12 children spent 10 years performing with her siblings as the multi-platinum selling Celtic and folk group, The Rankin Family. She is in Truro Thursday to perform at the Marigold Cultural Centre.

Rankin spent about three years on the album, working with David Tyson based out of Los Angeles.

“I wasn’t sure what kind I wanted to make. When I met David Tyson, I was writing some of my own songs and he encouraged taking the time to make my record,” said Rankin. “In the end, we co-wrote seven songs for the album.” Read More


Cape Breton Star   si-rankin-album

On a couple of counts, Heather Rankin is charting new territory.

Long established in the music industry as a member of the award-winning Rankin Family, the youngest member of the band has just released her debut solo album. What’s more, it’s a distinct diversion from the traditional sounds of the Mabou siblings.

A Fine Line is not a trip up Gillis Mountain. And without taking anything from the Rankins’ roots, that new direction is just fine with Rankin.

“I could have gone the traditional route and I could have tried to repeat what I did with the family,” she said. “(But) I just wanted to go on some sort of exploration and see what would come out of co-writing and working with people from different music circles.”

Through a mutual friend, Rankin met an industry heavyweight in David Tyson, who wrote Dark Horse for Amanda Marshall and co-wrote Black Velvet for Alannah Myles, and produced both of those records. Read More

Heather Rankin explores influences on solo effort

New Glasgow News 

Amanda Jess Published on May 08, 2016


Performing at Glasgow Square on May 11

Heather Rankin was always comfortable being a part of the group.

Being the 11th out of 12 children, the wing-man felt like a natural role, she said recently, adding that she never saw herself as a solo artist until recently.

“I waited a long time to step out of that very comfortable place with my family and do my own record,” she said, adding that it wasn’t without trepidation and led to a period of growth for her.

When she refers to her family, she, of course, means her siblings that made up the multi-platinum selling Celtic and folk group The Rankin Family.

The band received many accolades over its 10-year run, releasing five albums and touring across the country as well as in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Heather also continued doing Christmas tours with her sisters. She was featured on several other people’s recordings, including Carly Simon, and racked up a lengthy list of theatre credits. Read More

Rankin walks ‘A Fine Line’ with solo album

Pictou Advocate

Heather Rankin

Posted on May 4, 2016 Aaron Cameron 

Last month saw the release of A Fine Line, the debut solo album from Heather Rankin.

Rankin – the youngest of the Rankin family – will be performing May 11 at Glasgow Square Theatre with Kim Dunn co-headlining.

One may have expected a Heather Rankin solo album before now, as both Jimmy and Raylene Rankin began releasing solo material during the group’s early 2000s, pre-reunion period. She, however, was following a different path, one that included work with Carly Simon, theatre pursuits and managing the Rankin sisters’ Red Shoe Pub. In short, she may be late to the party but it’s a party she didn’t mind being late to.

“I never really felt any pressure to do a solo record to be perfectly honest,” Rankin said. “It was something I never really thought that seriously about until in recent years when (The Rankins) started touring again. I’d been writing a little bit and a few people had been giving me the nudge saying I should continue doing it… It was just something I never really saw myself as, a solo singer. Sometimes life makes decisions for you and leads you in directions you never expected to go.”

The notion of releasing a solo album meant not only competing with her past and the Rankin Family back catalogue but also audience perceptions of what a Heather Rankin album should sound like.

“I think I had a lot of insecurities about stepping out on my own,” Rankin said. “I’ve always been surrounded by family in whatever musical endeavours I’ve taken part in. I guess once I said it out loud I was committed to it. You’re always afraid it will be a failure, at least that’s the way my brain thinks. It’s really hard coming from a situation that’s very successful and stepping out on your own.” Read More

Heather Rankin launching new solo career at East Coast Music Awards

Heather Rankin.Twitt#6A74FB

By Bob Mersereau, CBC News Posted: Apr 12, 2016 7:00 PM AT Last Updated: Apr 12, 2016 8:04 PM AT

Getting Heather Rankin to co–host the East Coast Music Awards gala on Thursday in Sydney with Ashley MacIsaac may seem like a no–brainer, given that the singer’s roots go so deep in the region’s music community.

A founding member of the first family of the East Coast sound, Rankin and her siblings were a big part of the explosion of talent that took the region’s music to national and international audiences in the early 1990s.

But Rankin says these days she can barely recognize the scene she helped establish, 25–plus years later.

“They’re a whole other generation,” she laughed. “I’m like the grandmother at the ECMAs. Is there an award? ‘The oldest person making a record at the East Coast Music Awards goes to …'” Read More

Walking A Fine Line
Heather Rankin

Heather Rankin, a Mabou native, has released her first solo CD – A Fine Line. The first single from the album is the cover of Everybody Wants to Rule the World, the 1980s Tears for Fears hit. PHOTO: Contributed

Antigonish Casket 

Posted on April 6, 2016 by Corey LeBlanc

You would think it was a case of – been there done that – when Heather Rankin held a copy of her recently released CD for the first time.

After all, she has been part of several albums over the years, including as a member of The Rankin Family, the globally-renowned Celtic group made up of her and her siblings; or as a trio with her sisters – Raylene and Cookie.

But, this was different; A Fine Line, which made its debut April 1, is the first solo effort for the Mabou native.

“It is kind of like that experience when they first take the training wheels off of your bicycle, where you are absolutely terrified, and you just kind of blindly go for it, but it is exhilarating at the same time; that’s probably the best way to describe it,” Rankin told the Casket of that moment.

“You know, it is really my jumping-off point for – I have never done anything this (pauses) separate from my family, so it is exciting, it is very exciting.”

In recent years, Rankin has remained on stage, but as a cast member with a variety of theatre productions.

“It just felt like the right time for me to maybe venture out and try a solo record.” she said.

Rankin added she “didn’t want to completely abandon the music world.”

“Opportunities with my family were my outlet for so long, and when that became less and less frequent, it just seemed like the obvious direction to maybe venture out and record a solo record,” she noted.

Rankin said she “never really saw herself as a solo artist.”

“I guess, maybe, because I never needed to; I was always quite content to be one of the gang,” she added.

Taking ‘an adventure’

Nevertheless, Rankin had been penning some songs and “didn’t have an outlet to share them.”

“So, I decided that I would maybe make this record. I just went exploring and I worked with a variety of people,” she said.

One of those was California-based songwriter and producer David Tyson, who has worked with other Canadian solo artists, such as Alannah Myles and Amanda Marshall.

“He is a master of the craft of song-writing, and also an amazing producer, and I am a fan of his work,” Rankin said of Tyson.

She added she never envisioned co-writing seven of the album’s 11 tracks with him.

When they met, Rankin said Tyson encouraged her to move from her original plan to record a group of cover songs.

“He encouraged me to just take my time and finish – write more – and write with him, and do more of my own music, which – in a way – is a very smart thing to do,” she added, her voice rising.

“You are really speaking to the heart of where you are coming from.”

She described the process as “an adventure.”

“When I think about it, I have never – my entire life I have been flanked by family; I have always had that support system of family, in whatever I have done in business – whether it was making records and touring with The Rankin Family, or making records and touring with my sisters, or buying the pub [The Red Shoe Pub in Mabou],” Rankin said.

“Even when I went to university I had two sisters going to the same university and one of them was in the same program. So, really, relatively late in life, I am setting out on my own, for the first time. While that is liberating in its own way, it is also very terrifying.”

She described meeting and working with Tyson as “a real jumping-off point for me.”

“I feel like I have grown a lot as an individual. I guess I am kind of a later bloomer (laughing); relatively late in life making my debut solo record,” Rankin noted.

‘The human condition’

As for the song-writing process, she said, when she is writing on her own, “I am usually noodling around on the piano, and it is just repetitive, until you find something.”

“Sometimes, it is mumbo-jumbo, and you get a line out of it, and it grows from that one kernel of an idea,” Rankin added.

And, other times, “it is just a lyric that comes to you,” as was the case with Sitting in a Café, one of the cuts from A Fine Line.

“Walking around by myself in downtown L.A. and I went for some breakfast and saw a couple guys walk in and order breakfast,” she recalled.

Just from that experience, Rankin said a song came to her, while part of a lyric for another one came while she was sleeping.

“So, a variety of ways, I think, for me when I write,” Rankin said, with a laugh.

As for what listeners can expect from the tunes, she said “you could categorize it as adult contemporary music.”

“Some of the songs lean more in the pop direction, while some of them are a bit more theatrical, and then there are some that are more in the direction of what you might have expected me to have done with The Rankin Family,” she said.

“But, although they vary musically, thematically, there is a thread that runs through all of them, and that includes the one cover song that we do on the record – Everybody Wants to Rule the World.

“I am singing largely about the human condition and that quest that we are on each day to find balance, whether it is in our work, or our relationships, or ourselves,” Rankin added.

As for her favourite tunes, Rankin started with We Walk as One, which also features vocals from her brother, Jimmy.

“It really speaks to my experience coming for rural Cape Breton, growing up in a large family with very little, and rising out of the adversity that comes with all of those things,” she said.

Rankin added she is “quite fond” of Titaniclly, which she and Tyson penned about the violin recovered after the Titanic sank.

“We personified the violin and gave it its own personal story and it kind of goes in the direction of musical theatre, which I really love,” she said.

Noting it “changes every day,” when it comes to her favourite songs, Rankin then talked about the aforementioned Sitting in a Café.

“It is a very – almost cabaret-like singer-songwriter; very simple, accessible lyric, with a kind of an interesting melody,” she said.

On the road

The official release of A Fine Line took place April 1, which included an appearance on CTV Morning Live.

“We are going to officially release the video for Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” Rankin said, in the March 22 phone interview.

From there, she said she was scheduled to fulfill her commitments as co-host and gala performer for the 2016 East Coast Music Awards in Sydney.

“I have got a number of other commitments during the week for private events and a songwriters’ circle,” Rankin noted.

In May, she will team up with North Sydney native Kim Dunn, another a singer-songwriter, for “a string of dates in Nova Scotia,” including Sydney, New Glasgow, Truro and Mabou, along with a pair of performances in Halifax.

Ruling the world

As for the listener response to the CD’s first release, Everybody Wants to Rule the World, the re-make of the 1980s Tears for Fears hit, Rankin said it has been “pretty positive.”

“That’s very encouraging, and I am so grateful that people are responding, because it is a bit of a departure for me, and I know a lot of people would have expected me to come out and do traditional music, which I can always do – I can always go back to that,” she said of the compilation.

“But, that’s what I have always done and it just didn’t seem – at this point in time – the right fit for me to try and re-produce what I had always done with my family.

“I thought – why not just go and do something completely different and surprise people; and stretch, it required me to stretch a little and be open-minded and open to different things, different ideas,” Rankin added.

She noted “it was liberating in that sense.”

“I am excited. I am terrified, but I am excited,” Rankin said.

For more information about Rankin, including tour dates, visit She also has Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts.

Heather Rankin releases solo album A Fine Line, covers Tears for Fears

1st single features Fairview rapper Quake Matthews on anti-war hit Everybody Wants to Rule the World

By Aly Thomson, The Canadian Press Posted: Apr 01, 2016 10:38 AM AT Last Updated: Apr 01, 2016 3:49 PM AT

It’s an unlikely match — she’s a petite traditional singer from small-town Cape Breton with tidy hair, and he’s a sneaker-clad emcee who dons backwards hats and spits rhymes about his gritty Halifax suburb.

But the collaboration between Heather Rankin — of Cape Breton’s renowned Rankin Family — and rapper Quake Matthews proved so powerful she picked it as the first single from her debut solo album, A Fine Line, being released Friday.

The song, a cover of the 1985 Tears for Fears anti-war hit Everybody Wants To Rule The World, is one Rankin danced to as a teenager, but it took on a different meaning at this stage of her life, she said.

“All these years later it resonates with me in a different way,” said Rankin in her chiming soprano tones.

“I thought, ‘Wow, this song really makes a statement.’ But I wanted to do something with the song that set it apart from the original version.” Read More