Jimmy Rankin is going for it.
Twenty-five years into a career that has seen him embraced as one of Canada’s most beloved singer-songwriters, Rankin has decided it’s time to return to the spotlight.
“I’ve taken a hiatus from playing and the road,” the Cape Breton native said. “I’ve sort of been taking a break and living a normal life, regenerating.”
Rankin is embarking on a cross country tour, that will stop at the Charlie White Theatre on Jan. 30 in support of his country-inspired Back Road Paradise album.
“To me, it’s the most country I’ve been, ever. I’ve always sort of dabbled with country, even way back with The Rankins, and this is where I am right now,” he said.
Of course, Rankin’s been playing since his early teens, when he joined his siblings in the internationally-acclaimed Rankin Family, hailing from Mabou, Cape Breton.
Their first hit, “Fare Thee Well Love”, was the title track of the group’s smash album from 1992. It went to number one on the AC charts, quintuple platinum, and in 2013 was voted the number one East coast song of all time by CBC listeners. More hits followed through the 1990’s, including “North Country”, the smash hit “You Feel The Same Way Too”, and “Movin’ On.” The Rankins became international stars and ambassadors for Cape Breton’s Celtic sound, performing all over the world, teaming up for recording sessions with The Chieftains, and winning six Juno Awards.
By the end of the decade, the brothers and sisters decided it was time to concentrate on solo careers. Rankin’s 2001’s Song Dog saw his single “Follow Her Around” fly up the Canadian radio charts. Since his solo-debut, he has continued to keep the hits coming, with “Midnight Angel”, “Morningbound Train” and “Here In My Heart.”
Confident and excited, Rankin feels like he’s just hitting his stride.
“To me, it’s nice to sing those songs and have people recognize them and sing along to them. That’s where I am these days.”
Rankin will play the Charlie White Theatre at the Mary Winspear Centre Jan. 30. Tickets available at tickets.marywinspear.ca