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The Rankin Family is a Canadianmarker musical family group from Maboumarker, Cape Breton Islandmarker, Nova Scotiamarker. The group has won many Canadian music awards, including 15 East Coast Music Awards, six Juno Awards, four SOCAN Awards, three Canadian Country Music Awards and two Big Country Music Awards.


A family of performers

The Rankins come from a family of 12, all of whom would entertain the neighbours musically every third weekend as part of a ceilidh.

The first Rankin Family band formed in the 1970s when siblings Geraldine, Genevieve, David, John Morris, and Raylene Rankin began performing at local weddings and dances in Cape Breton. As the older siblings went away to college and university, the younger siblings Jimmy, Cookie and Heather took their places.

These five siblings - Jimmy, John Morris, Cookie, Raylene and Heather - released their own independent cassettes The Rankin Family (1989) and Fare Thee Well Love (1990), featuring original songs and a combination of traditional jigs, reels and Celtic folk songs. Their television debut was on the CBC variety show On the Road Again in 1989.

Their most successful album was EMI's re-release of Fare Thee Well Love in 1992, which went quadruple platinum, selling over 500,000 copies; the title track was one of the year's biggest Top 40 hit singles in Canada.

Separate ways

On September 17, 1999, after recording the song "Jimmy Mo Mhile Stor" with The Chieftains for their album Tears of Stone, the group issued a press release stating that they would no longer perform as a group in order to pursue independent interests and careers.

Less than a year later, John Morris Rankin was killed in a car accident in Cape Breton on January 16, 2000. His truck that he was driving to a hockey game plunged into the Gulf of St. Lawrencemarker, as he swerved to avoid a pile of salt on the road.

Jimmy Rankin has continued to write songs and has released three well-received solo albums: Song Dog (2001), Handmade (2003), and Edge of Day (2007).


In November 2006, it was announced that the four surviving Rankins—along with John Morris's daughter Molly—would be releasing a new album and reuniting for a cross-Canada concert tour. The tour was a great success, coast to coast. They have announced that they are planning another reunion for 2009; this will include a new CD to be released February 3, 2009, with a tour, and a television special.


  • Jimmy Rankin – vocals , guitar
  • Cookie Rankin – vocals
  • Raylene Rankin – vocals
  • Heather Rankin (1967- ) – vocals

Former members

  • John Morris Rankin – (1959–2000) piano, fiddle
  • Geraldine Rankin – One of the original founders of the group, Geraldine Coyne (Rankin) died January 10, 2007, the result of a brain aneurysm, at her home in Calgary. Geraldine had not performed with the group since prior to the first recordings being released.



Year Album Chart Positions CRIA Label
CAN Country CAN
1989 The Rankin Family self-released
1990 Fare Thee Well Love
1992 Fare Thee Well Love (re-issue) 1 5 5× Platinum Capitol
The Rankin Family (re-issue) Platinum
1993 North Country 1 7 4× Platinum EMI Canada
1995 Endless Seasons 6 13 2× Platinum
Grey Dusk of Eve 29 Gold
1996 Collection 1 14 2× Platinum EMI Canada/Rounder
1997 Do You Hear...Christmas
1998 Uprooted 30 Gold
2003 Souvenir: 1989-1998 Gold EMI Canada
2007 Reunion
2009 These Are the Moments 3 29 MapleMusic


Year Title Chart Positions Album
1989 "Mo Run Geal Dileas (My Faithful Fair One)" The Rankin Family
1992 "Orangedale Whistle" 7 25 Fare Thee Well Love
"Fare Thee Well Love" 9 8 44
1993 "Gillis Mountain" 4 6
"Rise Again" 31 4 12 North Country
"North Country" 4 5 30
1994 "Borders and Time" 21 10 23
"Tramp Miner" 31 26
"Turn That Boat Around"
1995 "Grey Dusk of Eve" (w/ Liam Maonlai) 31 85 Grey Dusk of Eve
"You Feel the Same Way Too" 14 14 46 Endless Seasons
1996 "The River" 36 12 38
"Forty Days and Nights" 18
"Roving Gypsy Boy" 9 23 Collection
1998 "Movin' On" 7 Uprooted
"Maybe You're Right" 21
1999 "Let It Go" 40 16
2006 "Sunday Morning" Reunion
2009 "Never Alone" 24 These Are the Moments
"Straight Into Love"A
  • ACurrent single.

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