Considered by many as New Orleans’ finest solo acoustic guitarist, John Rankin combines New Orleans rhythms with an assortment of musical styles to create his own unique sound.
He uses jazz, blues, classical, and folk styles to display his guitar and harmonica virtuosity. He frequently performs both as a soloist and with groups, as well as teaching guitar and songwriting at Loyola University.
John has been a featured solo performer New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festivals since 1981, and French Quarter Fest since 2003. That same year he won his second Big Easy Award for Best Folk Music. He was named a Jazz All-Star by New Orleans Magazine in 2007, and in 2011 he was the recipient of the “Best of the Beat” Offbe a t M a g a z i n e award for “Lifetime Achievement in Music Education”.
T h e C l a s s i c J a z z T r i o , a group with guitar and two jazz clarinetists, and they released a self-titled CD in 2010. His CD Last in April F i r s t i n M a y , released in April 2008, is a mostly original instrumental acoustic album. Fess’ Mess , a New Orleans style vocal and guitar CD was premiered in April of 2005. 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 Weekly and top 20 Louisiana CD for 2002 by The New Orleans Times Picayune . He previously released an album of original music, Something I Ate , and was a winner of the 1985 American Finger-Style Guitar Festival.
Whether on recordings or live, Rankin artfully blends New Orleans jazz, New Orleans R&B, jazz, standards, folk, blues, and classical guitar, as well as a wide array of originals, playing 6, 7, and 12 string guitars, along with virtuoso harmonica in a neck rack and singing in a baritone.