A video clip from a TV show featuring The Rankin Family singing "Flower Of Scotland." From YouTube.
In 1989, The Rankin Family released its first independent cassette, The Rankin Family, followed in 1990 by Fare Thee Well Love. In 1989, they appeared in CBC's On the Road Again, followed by the CBC special Here Come the Rankins in 1990. In 1992 EMI reissued The Rankin Family (which went platinum) and Fare Thee Well Love, the latter going quintuple platinum and bringing them national stardom. The title song was No. 1 on the adult contemporary charts for three weeks and one of the year's biggest Top 40 singles.
Also in 1992, North Country was released. In 1995, the band released the EP Grey Dusk of Eve. The same year, Endless Seasons evidenced the band's versatility and crossover appeal, fusing fiddle-based traditional music with contemporary roots music. This album carried original songs by John Morris, Cookie and Jimmy Rankin. Total sales of their first five CDs topped 1 million copies. The Rankin Family Collection (1996) became another bestseller.
Disbanding and Subsequent Reunion
By October 1998, Raylene left the group, and in 1999 The Rankins disbanded. In 2003 Souvenir, a greatest hits package, was released. By 2006 the Rankins were back, with John Morris' daughter Molly. The CD Reunion symbolised their return to classic folk and roots music, and won the East Coast Music Award (ECMA) for roots/traditional group recording of the year. Backstage Pass, a DVD of an 18 Oct 1995 concert at The Orpheum in Vancouver, garnered an ECMA in 2008 and became a CTV special. In January 2007, The Rankins began a coast-to-coast tour that again entrenched their status as a leading Canadian group. In 2009, The Rankins undertook a 22-city national tour.
Since 1991, the group has won over a dozen ECMAs, several Junos including entertainer of the year and group of the year, three Canadian Country Music awards, two RPM/Big Country Music Awards, and the 1996 Celtic Connections award for the biggest selling ticket in the history of that festival. Jimmy Rankin has won several ECMAs, SOCAN awards, and a Canadian Radio Music award.
Raylene, Cookie, and Heather Rankin sang on Carly Simon's Bedroom Tapes in 1999 and took part in an international documentary, Celtic Tides. The sisters tour their Christmas album with symphonies across Canada; Raylene has performed with Symphony Nova Scotia and released two solo albums. Her last album, All the Diamonds, was released in 2012, shortly before her death from cancer.
Jimmy Rankin has achieved national success, with solo albums including Song Dog (2001), Handmade (2003) and Edge of Day (2007). He has collaborated with songwriters such as Gordie Sampson and Patricia Conroy and opened for Keith Urban, John Prine, and Great Big Sea, and has performed with Symphony Nova Scotia and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
Heather Rankin has appeared in films including The Hanging Garden, Marion Bridge, The Wild Dogs, Scotland PA, Nonsense Revolution, and Halo, and in the television series Lexx. She hosted CBC's Celtic Tides in 1999.
Author Shirley Gueller
Links to Other Sites
The Rankin Family
The Rankin Family's official website features biographies, a discography, the latest tour news, and audio samples from their recordings.
The Rankin Family: Flower Of Scotland
A video clip from a TV show featuring The Rankin Family singing "Flower Of Scotland". From YouTube.
East Coast Music Association
The website for the East Coast Music Association, an organization dedicated to celebrating East Coast music. Check their site for the latest news about festivals and awards. Click on “Multimedia” for audio and video clips from previous awards shows.
Comhairle na Gàidhlig: The Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia
The website for the Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia. Check out "Nova Scotia's Gaelic Culture" for articles on Gaelic language, music, dance, and more.
College of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts of Canada
The website for the College of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts of Canada, based in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. Offers courses in Highland bagpiping, Scottish-style drumming, Highland dancing and Island step dancing. Check out "About Us" for Hall of Fame profiles of prominent college alumni.
Raylene Rankin, singer in The Rankin Family, dies of cancer
A CTV obituary for Raylene Rankin, a member of the internationally acclaimed Nova Scotia musical group The Rankin Family.
The Rankins - Movin' On
Watch the video for the Rankins' country music song "Movin' On" from the album "Uprooted." From YouTube.
Singer Raylene Rankin dies of cancer
A CBC obituary for Raylene Rankin, member of the acclaimed Celtic-country band The Rankin Family.