John Rankin is a well known solo acoustic guitarist from New Orleans. He is a master of fingerstyle guitar music, applying it to an eclectic array of genres: classical, jazz, folk, blues, and classic New Orleans music, and he frequently performs both as a soloist and with groups. He is sometimes described as a New Orleans version of Leo Kottke or Chet Atkins. In addition he sings in a smooth relaxing manner and plays harmonica in a neck rack in a very intense and melodic style. He also is a songwriter, with many witty and thoughtful songs in his large and frequently changing repertoire.
He also teaches guitar for Loyola University, Tulane University, and the University of New Orleans. 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 has won two Big Easy Awards for Best Folk Music.
In April 2008 he released a new CD Last in April First in May, an all instrumental guitar album of mostly originals. His CD, Fess’ Mess, was released in April 2005, and features a variety of New Orleans music with an empasis on vocal arrangements. A very eclectic mix, it features solos, duos, trios, and bands playing traditional jazz and New Orleans R & B as well as original songs. In 2002 he released Guitar Gumbo, a CD of New Orleans music in a variety of styles played on solo acoustic guitar, 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).
In August of 2005 he evacuated to Nashville with his family and pets, where he spent four months with frineds and extended family. They returned to New Orleans in December 2005. He plays every Tuesday at the Columns Hotel in the beautifully restored Victorian ballroom. John continues to live in his
beloved hometown, but has recently returned to touring again.