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Rankin Twins

Moonshine & Maybes – 2013 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Rankin Twins

The first full length album by the Austin-based Rankin Twins features elements of Texas alt.-country, bluegrass and mainstream country, fueled primarily by the tight harmonies of Amy and April Rankin.

Among the stronger tracks are the bluesy You Got the Heart and the up-tempo Hit and Run (the latter featuring a blazing guitar solo from John Carroll), as well as the bluegrass tinged Jezebel (featuring Noah Jeffries on mandolin and fiddle).

Some tracks, such as As the Music Plays and Ain't Buying It , sound like they could have been mainstream country hits in the '90s. Another highlight is Holdin' Pattern with Drew Womack contributing guest vocals reminiscent of Hal Ketchum.

Perhaps the most effective tune is the Amy Rankin composition Rain, a ballad which at first appears to be a standard country song of lost love with such references as "Your old t-shirts still hanging around/Coffee just brewed I can still smell it now" and "Your memory keeps on beating me down/But I'll keep coming back around like the rain," but takes a poignant turn when it is revealed that the singer is actually missing a lost hero ("Still got that flag from when they shipped you back in the rain/Proud of all the lives you saved/I'll keep talking to this grave where you lay, in the rain").

In addition to Carrol and Jeffries the Rankins are nicely supported throughout by Tommy Detamore (steel guitar), Paul Eason (bass, guitar, mandolin), David Grissom (acoustic and electric guitar) and producer Ken Tondre (drums). With strong vocals, pleasant tunes and stellar musicianship the Rankin Twins' debut is an impressive effort.