All The Latest


Life Marches on! This is quite a month in New Orleans, following the Mardi Gras madness with a few day of calm and then, back to the party. I actually went ALL the way to Bay St. Louis for a few days to escape, and although I missed seeing the parades, it’s nice not to find beads all over my house. 

And March is an action packed month. First, Daylight Savings starts Sunday March 8th. Make sure you save the hour somewhere safe in case you need it later. Next up we have the infamous Ides of March, as in “I’d stop writing right now if I was smart”, and “I’d be careful if I were you”. And then, March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day, the next big excuse in NOLA to party after Mardi Gras. I hope you like cabbage. 

In other news, The NOLA String Kings will be “marching” over to the studio to record this week. It’s a project we have been working on, and the music is terrific. It won’t be available for a while; meanwhile you’ll find us performing on Tuesdays at the Columns every 4 or 5 weeks. 

Paul Sanchez and I are also working towards a recording as a duo, playing and singing the best of the songs we have written together. Paul is an inspiring songwriter, and a great friend. We’ll be previewing the songs at the Columns this week, with the fabulous Alex McMurray to boot. A Columns exclusive! 

Clarinetist and author Tommy Sancton returns to town for a couple of months, and we will be celebrating his presence with the Classic Jazz Trio, joined by trumpeter Ben Polcer. 

Jazz Fest has been good to me over the years (since 1981!), and they’ve done it again for 2020. The New Orleans Guitar Masters have a set on the first Friday 4/24, and I will also have a solo set (yay!). Vitrice will be showing her jewelry there the same weekend (double yay!), so all around a great time for us. 

All the Best, 



Welcome from the land of eternal summer. located somewhere between mildew and stop. One good thing is, we never run out of water. It’s North, South, above, and below us. The problem is usually keeping it out your car. My cars have flooded seven times in Orleans Parish. Katrina was only one of them. I keep an inflatable boat in my house and an axe in the attic. 

Okay, quick, when I say Mazda, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Well, if you live here in New Orleans, you’re probably thinking of the one they pulled out of the drainage canal this week that had been there blocking the water flow for say, the 14 years since it was reported missing! Nobody at the S&W Board can remember ever checking the 90 miles of underground canals. They also found another car frame, a truck bed, a sofa, and many tons of who knows what in there. There’s no place like this home… 

By the way, Happy Anniversary? 14 years ago I couldn’t have imagined what life in New Orleans would be like now, but I’m happy to say my world is filled with wonderful and generally happy people like you. It’s not cheap anymore, and it’s too wet, but there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Who Dat! 

And if you’re in New Orleans this month, the following information may be relevant to you: 

FRIDAY 9/6, 7:07 TO 8:39 P.M. 

SIDEBAR NOLA, 611 S. WHITE ST., 70119 

John Rankin (solo) 




9/3   -  John Fohl and John Rankin 

9/10 -  The NOLA String Kings, with Don Vappie, Matt Rhody, and John Rankin 

9/17 -  Paul Sanchez and John Rankin 

9/24 -  Alex McMurry and John Rankin 

10/1 - John Fohl and John Rankin 

EVERY SUNDAY, 11:30 to 2:30


The Superior Jazz Trio 

If you don’t know who these people are, then email me or look ‘em up. I’m trying to minimize my loquacious tendency towards verbose and obfuscating commentary that might interfere with the understated and sublime enjoyment of K.I.S.S. I await your comments yea or nay, but in any event, this week you have been spared. 

Or maybe not. 




We just returned to the land of 110% humidity, and we’re ever so grateful to have dodged the soggy bullet. Our cars didn’t flood, our house is fine, and so is most of the city, although I’m sure there are many residents with different stories, especially about cars. We were lucky that our daughter Anne was home to take care of the animals and the car that could have been toast. 

Where were we during all the Weather Channel hysteria? In Nashville at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society 35th annual meeting. They include multiple music styles, including picking and grinning. I can’t say much good about the food, but people were lovely, and the music was great. While there were a lot of Chet fans showing their thumb picking tributes, the most exciting performers were the young proteges of the amazing Tommy Emmanuel: Joe Robinson, Brooks Robertson, Collin Hill, and Shane Hennessy were all beyond amazing, and Tommy was inspiring as always. Shane, an Irish picker and singer, was dubbed the Michael Buble of the guitar by Vitrice, and his singing, playing, looks, and all around pleasant demeanor confirmed her designation (despite that he is a SERIOUS guitarist). I got to play a couple of times, and I was grateful to be noticed favorably by two of my favorite musicians there, jazz guitar great Sean McGowen and the fantastic Nashville studio musician Tim Thompson. 

In June, I went to Massachusetts to the “Django in June” Festival to learn more about gypsy jazz technique. Not really my main style, but one of my favorite musics to listen to and play. So many great musicians were there, I can’t begin to list them, but Dennis Chang was a fabulous teacher with tons of great handouts, and it will take me a year at least to absorb them into my antique brain. If this is a style you love, I can’t recommend this event enough. 

But enough about those other great people, what about me? Great question, and so interesting. I am happy to tell you that, because of my superb hand surgeon, Dr. Eric George, dedicated hand therapist Marie McLaughlin, and my persistent exercise, I am 100% back to playing. I’m quite sure I can play just as badly as I always have. That’s good enough for me, and I’m feeling very lucky to have ten working fingers and to still be able to count that high… 

The Columns Hotel is still without music for the summer, but I will be back starting on August 20th, starting with a solo show.