John Rankin

John Rankin is a guitarist extraordinaire, educator, raconteur, and local personality who embodies the spirit of New Orleans in every performance. He has been described as a New Orleans hybrid of Leo Kottke and Chet Atkins, but his expansive style covers many genres. A versatile master of solo acoustic guitar, he blends New Orleans feel and charm with originals, jazz, classical guitar, folk, blues, rhythm and blues, and the American songbook.

Rankin is also known as a powerful singer/songwriter with a wide array of songs, vocal and instrumental, that reflect his broad approach. His powerful harmonica playing, in sync with his guitar, adds a real impact to his songs and stories. Tunes like “Where’s the Hot Sauce” are perennial crowd-pleasers, while his evocative instrumentals, such as “Dream Palace” or the title cut to his stellar album Last in April First in May are becoming local classics.

He has been a featured performer at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival since 1981. Although best known as a soloist, he performs with many ensembles, including the New Orleans Guitar Masters, the NOLA String Kings, and The Classic Jazz Trio. He was named a Jazz All-Star by New Orleans Magazine in 2007, and won two Big Easy Awards for Best Folk Music (1992 and 2002). He also was a winner of the 1985 American Finger-Style Guitar Festival.

He has taught guitar and songwriting at Loyola University New Orleans for over thirty years, and has also taught at Tulane University, The University of New Orleans, and Xavier University. He was given a Lifetime Achievement Award in Music Education award in 2012 by Offbeat Magazine for his commitment to teaching.


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