After more than 25 years of performing with her siblings in the acclaimed Celtic-folk group The Rankin Family, Heather Rankin is growing ever more comfortable with the notion of being a solo artist.
“The funny thing is, I never really had any kind of desire to have any kind of solo career. But life leads you in unexpected directions sometimes,“ Rankin says, speaking in advance of her performance at Moncton’s Capitol Theatre tonight.
After having achieved multi-platinum success in the 90’s, selling more than one million records in Canada alone, the Rankin Family hit the pause button on their career in 1999, citing a desire to pursue other projects and spend more time at home.
The first of two tragedies befell the group the following year when founding member John Morris Rankin was killed in an automobile accident. Twelve years later – and three years after the release of what remains the group’s final album, These Are The Moments – Raylene Rankin lost a hard-fought battle with cancer.
“When I was making music with my family, it was filling a sort of creative itch, but it was only when that was no longer at my disposal that I started seriously thinking about recording the songs I had been working on,” she says.
Admitting her leap into the solo arena was simultaneously terrifying as well as incredibly fulfilling, Rankin says it was once she was deep into the process of writing and recording her solo debut, 2016’s A Fine Line, that she had a revelation:
“Up until the making of that record, I often had to stay within certain parameters when it came to the kinds of songs I wrote or sung. But when it came time to step into my own world with A Fine Line, those rules no longer applied. I could have taken the easy route and followed the same paths as I did when I was performing with my siblings, but I chose to spread my wings, and be as creative and as different as I wanted to be. It was a wonderfully liberating discovery.”
Having worked with award-winning songwriter David Tyson, Alex Cuba, Jamie Robinson and others, there is a definite sense of pride emanating from Rankin as she discusses her solo debut. In fact, she had such a great time making the album, she ended up going back into the studio shortly after to complete recording of her first holiday themed album, Imagine, which was released this past holiday season. Asked what those attending her upcoming show should expect, Rankin says the show boasts material from all eras of her career. She insists that she wouldn’t be true to herself otherwise.
“It would be a shame if I tried to ignore any specific era of this career I’ve been fortunate enough to have,” she says. “My heart is still very connected to the music I made with my siblings, and I am just as proud of my solo work. It’s all a part of who I am.”
What: Heather Rankin
When: Thursday March 29, 8 p.m.
Where: Capitol Theatre, 811 Main St., Moncton
Tickets are $36 for members, $39 for others. Advance tickets are available at the Capitol Theatre Box Office, by phone (506) 856-4379 and online at www.capitol.nb.ca.
For a list of other Heather Rankin tour dates, check out her website.