John Rankin is a well known New Orleans musician and performer. A versatile master of solo acoustic guitar, he blends a New Orleans feel with originals, jazz, folk, blues, rhythm and blues, classical guitar, and the American songbook. He has been described as a New Orleans version of Leo Kottke or Chet Atkins.
He is a singer songwriter with a wide array of songs, vocal and instrumental, that reflects his broad approach. His powerful harmonica playing, in sync with his guitar, adds a real impact to his songs and stories. A featured solo performer at most New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festivals since 1981, he was a winner of the 1985 American Finger-Style Guitar Festival, and won two Big Easy Awards for Best Folk Music. Although well known as a soloist, he performs with many ensembles, including the New Orleans Guitar Quartet and The Classic Jazz Trio.
He currently has four CD’s available. In March of 2010 he produced, recorded, and released The Classic Jazz Trio, a CD of New Orleans traditional jazz with clarinetists Tom Sancton and Tom Fischer. In April 2008 he released the CD Last in April First in May, an original instrumental guitar album. His 2005 CD, Fess’ Mess, an eclectic mix with solos, duos, trios, and bands playing New Orleans jazz, R & B and original vocals and instrumentals. In 2002 he released Guitar Gumbo, a solo guitar CD of New Orleans music in a variety of styles, which was voted a top ten Louisiana CD for 2002 by Gambit magazine and top 20 Louisiana CD for 2002 by The New Orleans Times Picayune States Item. He previously released an album of original music, Something I Ate (out of print).
He teaches guitar and songwriting at Loyola University and the University of New Orleans. He was given a Lifetime Achievement Award in Music Education award in 2012 by Offbeat Magazine for his commitment to teaching at Loyola University and elsewhere in New Orleans.
He plays every Tuesday at the Columns Hotel on St. Charles Avenue in the beautifully restored Victorian ballroom. Each week he brings in different musician friends to join him. John continues to live in New Orleans, but has recently returned to touring.