JULY 2024

You know who the best dog in the world is?

Your dog. No matter what you do, they love ya. All of those little “accidents” and begging don’t matter in the long run. They’re ALWAYS happy to see you.

Jackson Dog Rankin, AKA Prince Rupert, is still living the good life at 16. I never had a small dog before, but that 14 pound Jack Russell is still very active and playful. When he’s awake. He does sleep a lot more, aided by his deafness to door bells, whistles, and howling dogs.

Little dogs are very willful, and they will insist we see it their way. It’s called personality. Don’t worry, we have him right where he wants us…

I still wonder about a few things. If he’s such a good friend, why did I get him fixed? Could I learn to wag my tail? Does he really think I’m smart and kind, or is it just about food and protection?

He has a heart murmur, epileptic fits, a stomach tumor larger than a lemon (inoperable), but he is unconcerned. His preferred words are treat, walk, sit, stay, okay, and I love you, and like all dogs, he believes he taught those us tricks. With joy, all the time, and purpose. That’s the attitude I admire.

Long Live Jack!

APRIL 2023

Well. it appears that I forgot the website for some time. My apologies. I'm still adjusting to the new abnormal. 

High Season is in gear, and it’s time to get sunscreen, disposable raincoats, and Birkenstocks ready for our version of the Rites of Spring. It’s that lovely time of the year between freezing in a cold leaky house and sweating in a hot leaky house. When you can open your windows, and hear the birds and the sirens instead of the air conditioners humming. It’s when you are through with Mardi Gras but not quite over it. When the Mardi Gras Indians come out again to remind us how lucky we are to live in a rich culture like this. And a time of looking ahead to several months of rain without names. 

And crawfish. New Orleans has absorbed Cajun culture in the last decade or so. I asked a guy cooking a big pot of them what he did to prepare them, and he said ‘nothing, we just tell them they’re goin’ to die”. Gotta love it…



Big news! The New Abnormal is becoming the New Normal. Well, maybe not. But there is a brand new CD, DREAM PALACE, from THE NOLA STRING KINGS, with John Rankin. Matt Rhody, and Don Vappie. It was recorded right before the shutdown, and I hope it was worth the wait, because I’ve been itching like a dog with fleas to get this thing out. That’s because I feel so good about the music, the sound, and the feeling that I get from listening to it, that I’ve wanted you to hear it too. 

Half are originals, and the rest are great New Orleans repertoire. All three of us contributed songs, arrangements, vocals, love, and money, in equal portions. Now you, the listener, represent the completion of our project. 

Don has created a new label to release it on, and you can get your copy here: https://www.donvappie.com/store.php#!/c/0/offset=9. If prefer to get them from me, you can as well; contact me at https://johnrankin.net/contact, and I can mail you a copy, autographed or not, for $20 (sent to VENMO@John-Rankin-NOLA). 

In other news, The New Orleans Guitar Masters will be at JazzFest on the first Saturday October 8, first weekend. I will have a solo show as well on the same day. Stay tuned!

JULY 2021

JULY is here, and for a change, New Orleans is cooler than most of the country. We’ve had more rain than many states as well; The grass stills looks as green as when spring started. I wish we could ship most of that extra water out west. 

THE COLUMNS on Mondays has been a treat for me! However, we will not be there in July and August, or possibly longer. The music was great, the audience was lovely, but it’s tough with the current furniture arrangements, employee shortages, reservation operations and policies, and so on. You might remember the former owners shut down the music in the summer as well. Hopefully it will evolve into a successful music venue in the fall. 

That being said, I had a great time seeing so many long time friends and new listeners. I especially want to thank the musicians—Clarence Johnson III, Washboard Chaz, Harry Hardin, Ed Wise, Dallas Vietty, David Torkanowsky, and Matt Rhody—every evening was a true delight. I tried to broadcast the first sets on Facebook, but with limited technological success, what I would call “a great learning experience”. 

Yours in analog and digital worlds, 


MAY 2021

I am returning to play at the Columns! The new time is EVERY MONDAY starting 5/24, and now 6 to 9,  two hours earlier. 

I will be playing in the ballroom, but we might try the front porch when the weather is tempting. So far Mondays are the only night with music. I think that’s because my friends have kept calling the hotel for the last year, so it’s all your doing — and thank you very much. 

The Columns has benefited from its new owners!  It still feels like the old place but it’s more sophisticated. New restrooms, beautiful lighting, bar, modern electronics, and more seating areas everywhere. The front porch seating  has been extended to cover the entire front yard, so you can always find a seat outside on the avenue, and a service bar speeds up your order. More sophisticated, still a great historic place. 

There is a new menu, under chef Michael Stoltzfus from Coquette, and the kitchen is open until 9 p.m. and open on Mondays, so now you have a place to eat out on Blue Mondays! Here’s a look: http://thecolumns.com/thecolumns/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Columns_Menu_01.pdf 

I’m excited to begin again with the new Columns Hotel, and I hope you get a chance to come by. Especially on Mondays from 6 to 9! 

I will broadcast the first set live on Mondays on Facebook from 6 to 7 CST (John Rankin Music, https://www.facebook.com/johnrankinguitar).

 Here's our schedule for now:

5/31 - John Rankin and Washboard Chaz Leary 

6/7 -  John Rankin and Tom Fischer (clarinet and sax) 

6/14 - John Rankin and Ed Wise (bass) 

6/21 - John Rankin and David Torkanowsky 

6/28 - John Rankin and Matt Rhody

March 2021

It’s been more than a minute since you’ve heard from me, since before the holidays. The world has been acting crazy, but we have been going along at a lazy pace, mostly at home enjoying our leisurely lifestyle. 

I have been reading a lot more lately. I have been learning so many things I had never guessed or thought about. For instance, there are more than 42,000 playable guitar chords. And chicken produce more eggs when listening to top 40 or easy listening; I never thought they were very smart anyway. 

Then there’s the English language with its strange spelling, and expressions that are even stranger. Why is abbreviation such a long word? And why is it so hard to spell mnemonic? Why do babies wake up every 90 minutes but adults want to “sleep like a baby”? 

And it turns out musical instruments can be very unhealthy, with diseases like bagpiper’s fungus, tuba lips, and guitarist’s nipple, none of which have affected me. Speaking of bagpipes, how do you know when to tune them? And you may not realize this, but the reason bagpipers usually are walking when they play is to get away from the noise. 

I had sinus surgery last month because of multiple infections, and now I sound like Willie Nelson, at least to myself. I can breathe better as well. I didn’t know most people were getting this much oxygen, although I have been accused of being long winded… 

Oops, that’s my signal to sign off. Stay healthy and patient. Thanks for listening!


I’m almost ready to clear out the garage. It’s on the schedule for this week. I usually have to let these bigger tasks foment for a while before getting them started. Fomenting can take years… 

There’s still plenty left to do on my everlasting “to do someday” list, even after all of these months at home. Clean out the closet, organize the tools, finish those recordings, clear up all the overflowing paper around me. But it feels good to occasionally cross something off the list. This week I set up a new television that’s been sitting in the living room last Christmas, which definitely feels like years ago. It’s satisfying to organize chaos. The living room looks larger to me, like it’s not even my house. 

A minor task, if long overdue. The world is falling apart and Rankin is putting in a TV. A metaphor perhaps, about jumping even deeper into the digital hole? 

In some ways, yes. There’s way more content than anyone could watch in a thousand lifetimes. It makes me think for a moment that life is improving in some ways. Maybe we don’t like all the changes, but we do appreciate some new things. Digital junk food doesn’t fill you up (and that is a metaphor), but it’s gotten more enticing. You can look at picture of a steak for years and not know what it tastes like, but it’s a much better picture. 

The same with news. It’s focused on what’s wrong, and too often there are opposing opinions presented as facts. Good thing we have social media or we’d never know what’s true… 

The real world is not as polarized and unforgiving as media claims. Everybody is important and needs to be treated with respect, as we want to be treated ourselves. And if you don’t believe that, then do it because your mama would want you to. 

And I didn’t learn that from television.

June and what happened to all the time? 


Playing live on Facebook every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 630. 



Well it’s already half past June, and I am just now writing you. I was hesitant to waste your time, but then I thought, why change now? 

Time floats away with our new erratic schedule or lack of, and I find it’s hard to get more organized, strangely enough. On top of that, Vitrice had knee replacement surgery a week ago. It has been a difficult week for her , but she is clearly getting better. I am on the other hand, I’m getting worse, although I feel fine except for my neck, back, hips, knees, arms, wrists, and fingers. And it’s very easy to appreciate all the things that she does around the house now that I’m doing them. So far I have not killed her plants, the dog, or Vitrice, and I consider that a success. 

I play a live 30 minute show on Facebook on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 pm. There’s always something to learn, and special moments for me in every broadcast, but I really appreciate so many of you making a point to listen. I play a variety of styles, so that makes it interesting but more challenging. At worst it’s better than those mime podcasts I’ve been listening to. 

I have played a couple of outside events, and it’s been fun to interact with ‘analog’ people. Much better than the voices in my head. 

Here’s a last minute something you’re invited to, at Longue Vue Gardens this Wednesday evening the 17th, from 6 ish to 7ish, where I will be gently plucking happily away: 


Thanks for your sharing and support. You make my life so much better! 


May musings 



I noticed how things since quarantine are changing. For example: 

I sleep later and go to bed later. 

I take more time with my morning coffee. 

The obituaries take a lot longer to read. There are too many interesting people there I wish I’d met (why are they always smiling in their pictures?). 

I stopped wearing my watch, but I had to start wearing it again because the hours float away. 

By the time I finally get to work, it’s time for dinner. 

I don’t carry my wallet anymore, just a credit card and license. 

I get six weeks to eight weeks on a tank of gasoline. 

I really really freak out when I misplace my phone. 

I overreact to little things and sleep through the rest. 

I rarely know what day it is. 

All those things on my list that I was going to do when I had enough time are mostly still on the list… 

Missing Jazz Fest really hurts, admittedly a first world problem. 

My daily schedule is sanitizing the first floor and stairways, stretching and a little exercise, and then wasting time on the computer. 

It’s hard to get organized for any big  project or long-term goals, like cleaning out the closet or the garage. 

Vitrice and I cannot both be depressed at the same time; we have to take turns, so we have someone to cheer us up. 

The normal length of a phone call is 30 minutes, with a good friend, more like an hour. 

And the list goes on. But I hope you have time to  join me on Facebook for my live performances on Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 6:30ish. Stay well and wash those hands! 

April 2020 News! 

My blog is late this month. I’ve been hiding in the corner with the Wheat Thins and a box of chocolates. I have discovered that watching the news has to be done carefully, with an exit strategy ready for when I start to panic. 

Actually, I am a homebody who loves to sit in my studio and learn new music as well as practice the old stuff. It’s what I do to avoid the things I should be doing. Now I have the time to do both… 

I miss seeing you all, and performing for you as well. I am playing live on FaceBook on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 to 6:30 CST. You can find me on Facebook as “John Rankin” or “John Rankin Music”. There’s more than one John Rankin musician out there, so make sure you look for the most distinguished looking one. 

I hope you are well, and taking every precaution. If you’re like me, and I know I am, you’re worried about health and the economy. It’s like Katrina but for the whole world. The federal government response is definitely like Katrina! 

At this time, it’s not fun to be an older person, but there are some benefits. For example: 


1. Kidnappers are not very interested in you. 

2. In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first. 

3. No one expects you to run -anywhere. 

4. People call at 9 pm and ask, " Did I wake you?" 

5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac. 

6. There is nothing left to learn the hard way. 

7. Things you buy now won't wear out. 

8. You can eat dinner at 4 pm. 

9. You can live without sex but not your glasses. 

10. You enjoy hearing about other people's operations. 

11. You get into heated arguments about pension plans. 

12. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge. 

13. You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room. 

14. You sing along with elevator music. 

15. Your eyes won't get much worse. 

16. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off. 

17. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service. 

18. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either. 

19. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size. 

20. You can't remember who sent you this list. 

Patience is a virtue, but it’s always been in short supply. It’s seems like we work to get the time to do the things we say we want to do, and when we finally get the time, we can’t decide what to do first. Well, it’s easier now, because we have the time to knock a lot off that oversized list. Don’t postpone everything until next week; tomorrow will be fine. Do the outside stuff now while the weather is great, but from at least six feet away. 

I’ll write you next month. Be well, keep active, and don’t let anyone or anything discourage you. 



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.

All The Latest