Jimmy Rankin has spent most of his life touring Canada both with his family and on his own, but to this day he still enjoys seeing new parts of the country, especially those off the beaten path.
“I have gotten to see some amazing places, places that a lot of people in Canada don’t get to see,” said Rankin. “I really like getting off the main highways. That’s part of the inspiration for Back Road Paradise, the new record.”
His career began with the Rankin Family 25 years ago, and it’s still barrelling forward with his new album Back Road Paradise, which he describes as the most “country” album he has made to date.
There have always been traces of country in his music, but this time he decided to jump in with both feet.
“There’s definitely more of a country sound in there than what I’ve done before… But I think it’s important to keep growing and trying new things. I really like experimenting with different sounds,” said Rankin.
With this type of album, it’s a great fit to be touring Western Canada, hitting some of the smaller towns around Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. In his long years as a travelling musician, Rankin has played every venue imaginable, all the way from stadiums and outdoor festivals, to small pubs and community halls. And he enjoys all of them.
“I really do like playing the smaller venues, I find these shows are much more intimate,” he said. “It’s more of a singer/songwriter kind of vibe. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t fall asleep. There’s still lots of audience participation, and people can always shout out requests.”
A touring musician and father, Rankin says he doesn’t have much free time. “My life is divided between music and children, family life… and writing when I can. It’s a crazy balance; there is no balance. But when I’m home, I’m a dad. I do whatever needs to be taken care of with work and home, and try to write when I can. But there’s taking the kids to baseball games and swimming lessons and school. It is a full time job. There’s no balance. You try to make the best of it and be the best you can be.”
Rankin is closing out Kicking Horse Culture’s Live Kicks series with the last show on his tour in Golden at the Civic Centre on April 29. Tickets are available at the Art Gallery of Golden.