People usually don’t believe me when I say that I still listen to The Rankin Family every week. Sometimes it’s on purpose, other times it’s cause my music is on shuffle and I just let it play. Ever since I was a kid, The Rankin Family has always felt like a musical family of mine. They remind me of long road trips to Cape Breton to visit my granny, or endless kitchen parties during university.

I, myself, am surprised how much I still love their music, so it pained me today when I read that Raylene Rankin lost her third battle with cancer on Saturday.Even though I have seen them in concert countless times. I don’t usually get sad when celebrities die, but to me and so many others, the Rankins don’t feel like celebrities. They feel like our friends and family, who just happen to be super talented.

This is the third member of the band to pass away way too soon. Raylene’s brother, John Rankin passed away in a car accident in 2000, leaving behind two children. Geraldine Rankin passed away in 2007 from an brain aneurism.

Here is a link to a documentary that CBC Radio did about Raylene and her life of music, as she began her third battle with cancer. I haven’t listened to it yet, I’ll probably do so tonight, with some candles and some wine. I might even turn it into a little kitchen party.

Raylene released a solo album in April called “All The Diamonds.” It’s available on iTunes for download.

Cheers to you Raylene and your wonderful family. Thanks for the music.

Mike Morrison


  1. I grew up in Toronto into Hard Rock and Punk music. However my Irish background, family connection to Nova Scotia, but mostly my mothers love for this group called the Rankin Family, started a love for Celtic music that lasts to this day! When my mother was dying of cancer in 1994, when I was 19, she wrote a letter to my sister and me. In it was many beautiful things, including that she wanted us to always remember the words to the song ‘Rise Again’, as this is how she wanted people to remember her through us, her children! She really thought she’d ‘Rise Again’ by us leading good lives and being good people. From that moment on, the Rankin Family became a very big part of my life and my main contact to my mother. The songs haunted me! But never in a negative way. When I listened to the girls, it truly felt like I was listening to the angels! My love for Celtic music is massive and the Rankins are the top of my list of artists!
    It saddened me greatly this morning to hear of the death of Raylene, who sang my mothers song! I could somehow hear my moms voice coming through when she sang and to have her pass from the same disease, close to the same age is numbing! My thoughts go out to her family and all the people who have been touched by this amazing talent! I’m happy her son will always have his mom there to sing to him as she did for me!
    I’m very glad to have got to meet Raylene a few years back in Uxbridge Ont. She was an angel in real life as well as on her cd’s. A very nice person! May she rest in piece and may I thank her for the gift she’s given me over the last 18 years! She got me through it!


  2. Very sad news.I saw Raylene in 2006 in maple ridge bc and her music made me feel like home (being from the cape).Rest in peace you beautiful soul.

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