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Rankin tours ‘Imagine’ album through Alberta, Ontario

Heather Rankin won’t be spending Christmas in Mabou this year but she doesn’t plan to be away for long.
Heather Rankin won’t be spending Christmas in Mabou this year but she doesn’t plan to be away for long. - Contributed

SYDNEY, N.S. — A holiday misadventure has proven to be ideal fodder for a Christmas tune that Heather Rankin doesn’t mind sharing with the rest of Canada as she tours her 2017 seasonal release, “Imagine.”

“I was having a gathering on Christmas Eve and I made the ‘Joy of Cooking’ eggnog and miscalculated the amount of alcohol that was supposed to go into the eggnog,” recounted Rankin during a recent phone interview while she was on tour with her band in Alberta. “Behind my back, my husband who didn’t realize that I had miscalculated the alcohol was spiking it with moonshine.

Heather Rankin’s latest album, “Imagine,” take a wintery approach to the holidays.
Heather Rankin’s latest album, “Imagine,” take a wintery approach to the holidays.

“And so we had a hell of a good time. Some of our guests were under the Christmas tree.”

Once everyone had recovered, Rankin shared the story with her guitarist Jamie Robinson.

“He had this great idea to combine it with some of his lyrics and music and we ended up with ‘Wrap It Up.’

The song is the latest release from “Imagine,” a seasonal album that features several Christmas songs and a variety of songs that tend to be more winter specific than most holiday music. And there’s good reason for that, says Rankin.

“The bottom line is that I wanted to make something beautiful and something that could be playing in the background without being too intrusive,” said Rankin. “And I wanted it to be inclusive because some people don’t celebrate the religious part of the holiday. I just wanted it to be a little more accessible outside of the holiday season. And so a couple of the songs we wrote are not necessarily Christmas songs but as you say, winter-related.”

Rankin had initially considered doing an album of covers but she was encouraged to write or co-write most of her material and she says she’s grateful to be now growing as a songwriter.

“I love that and I love that process but I think my writing is strongest in collaborating with other writers who are strong writers. I’m still learning and I’m still honing the craft but I really enjoy the process.”

After Christmas, there will be more concert dates including singing with the Calgary Philharmonic for a St. Patrick’s Day event. It’s something she would like to do more of in the future.

“I think my music really lends itself to that treatment and I will be writing some more and I’m thinking of making some kind of recording,” said Rankin. “I’m not sure where I’ll go with it … it’s all up in the air until you start working on it.”

She also expects to do more shows with Lucy MacNeil, Bette MacDonald and Jenn Sheppard and hopes to tour her Christmas show in Atlantic Canada next year.

But back in the present, now that her Alberta dates are completed, Rankin is touring Ontario until Thursday. Then it’s off to Singapore to spend Christmas with her sister and husband, a major switch from usually spending Christmas in Cape Breton.

“It’s a completely different turn of events for us but I’m looking forward to the change.”

news@cbpost.com

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