By: Catherine Knott
PORT HAWKESBURY: “When I was no longer touring with Cookie and Raylene, I decided I wanted to create a holiday record. Something beautiful, something for everyone… for the whole winter season. “
Heather Rankin, the youngest member of the Juno Award winning and multi-Platinum selling Rankin Family, has released “Picture Perfect,” the second single from her 2017 holiday album Imagine.
At present, Rankin’s Picture Perfect Christmas Tour is stirring up the festive spirit. She is taking the stage in Calgary, on the mend after a brief cold, and will be performing sold-out shows in cities and towns across Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario, for the remainder of the holiday season.
The Imagine album is a mixture of original pieces, those co-written by Rankin, and traditional songs she and her family would sing during the Christmas season. She says the inspiration for the “Picture Perfect” single was born of a visit home to Mabou.
“… I was home for Christmas a couple of years ago, in Mull River, and it was a beautiful snowy morning. The back roads were covered and there was white in the trees. I walked by the farm where my mother grew up… and it was a very lonesome feeling. I started writing a lyric and this became ‘Picture Perfect.’”
Rankin’s theme for Imagine mirrors the wishes of the late John Lennon and his visionary song of the same title which articulates the hopes for a world devoid of greed, where all people can live in peace. The scope of the album captures the full depth of emotions evoked at Christmas; a time for introspection, serenity, wonder, and jubilation at the coming year.
“I feel at this stage in my life, I’m recognizing activity in the world that maybe I wouldn’t have noticed as a younger person. The need for inclusion of all people and a respect for diversity. I feel it and I see that other people in the world are feeling it, as well.”
The album garners a heart-felt and ecumenical appeal, from fresh and original styles, to traditional songs and a mixture of Gaelic and Spanish lyrics, as well. This is reminiscent of Rankin’s youth, as much of the album draws on her recollection of carols sung by her Gaelic choir, during Midnight Mass.
“Our family tradition was singing in the church choir. It was a big celebration for all of us, and songs like ‘Old Fashion Christmas’ and ‘Picture Perfect’ are all partly inspired by my memories of those Christmases.”
There is an element of fun in the album, in the form of a joyful tune co-written by Rankin and inspired by a batch of eggnog she once, accidentally, made three-times too strong. She says this sort of playfulness is important.
“It’s a message: after all of this, just remember to let loose and have fun. We’re here for a little while, let’s make the best of it.”
In terms of upcoming projects and performances, Rankin says the “wheels are turning.” Upon wrapping up her tour, she is looking forward to spending the holidays in Singapore, visiting family.