The Rankin Family


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The Rankins, having now officially dropped the "Family" from their name, seemed to attempt an image change with this CD, both in their presentation and the music itself. The formerly Celtic/roots/folk band have turned in their tin whistle for a more "new country" sound. This shift of style has been building over the past few releases. The problem is, quite honestly, it doesn't really work. The music tends to be bland, with no sound that clearly distinguishes this band from any other new country band. This is a shame, since they had built their career on turning traditional tunes into their own. And, sadly, they seem to be revisiting old ground. The opening track, "Movin' On," is nothing more than a rewrite of "You Feel the Same Way Too" (from 1995's Endless Seasons), only it isn't as good, as it lacks the energy and excitement once found in the Rankin Family's music. The good news is that while Jimmy Rankin, the main writer for the band, attempts to modernize their sound, Cookie and Heather Rankin seem content to return to form and produce some wonderful sounds, utilizing the band's almost-innate talent for harmonizing. Cookie's "Maybe You're Right" is the clear highlight of the CD, a bouncy country-pop tune that really stays in the listener's head. Jimmy Rankin does shine with the somewhat bitter but very interesting "Long Way to Go," featuring Heather Rankin spitting out the lyrics. Also, the Rankins do toss in some old traditional favorites at the end of the CD, just to remind listeners of their origins, and also what they are capable of. The problem is that there is not enough of what the band does best.

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