Heather Rankin & Kim Dunn In Concert

MAY 19, 2016

The Inverness Oran

John Gillis

Music fans who missed Heather Rankin and Kim Dunn’s concert last Saturday Evening at Strathspey Place missed a stellar show from two Cape Breton musicians, both with brand new CDs, who compliment each other extremely well onstage.

Dunn opened the show, backed by bassist Ron Hynes and guitarist Jamie Robinson with Don’t Cry Helena, perhaps the strongest cut off his new recording, Inspiration.

No stranger to anyone familiar with the East Coast Music scene, Dunn has spent the better part of nearly three decades in the music business in a supporting role to artists such as Jimmy Rankin, Matt Minglewood, Rita MacNeil, George Canyon, Bruce Guthro, David Myles and many more. In 2003, Dunn was the recipient of the first ever Musician Special Achievement East Coast Music Award.

Dunn, who studied jazz for four years at St. FX, has emerged since 2009 with two marvellous CDs of his own and he kept the audience spellbound and wanting more throughout the evening with his singing and exquisite command of the keyboards.

Whether blues, jazz, rock b’ roll or Texas swing, Sunn eased through various styles depending on the needs of his songs.

Shortly into the first set Dunn invited Heather Rankin to the stage. Rankin released her debut solo recording A Fine Line, earlier this month along with her new single, a cover of the 1980s Tears for Fears hit, Everybody Wants to Rule the World.

Rankin’s nervousness on playing in her hometown subsided right after the appreciative applause following her first song, a tribute to her roots called, We Walk As One.

It was evident Dunn was just as excited to be on stage performing on Heather’s CD release as he was on his own.

Heather joined Dunn as well in the first set on the song Hopeville, a sing also recorded by The Rankin Family several years ago. Dunn has that song on his new CD and his arrangement, Heather’s vocals and the backing vocals of Hynes and Robinson made you believe, for a minute, that you were in a southern cathedral listening to a Black spiritual. They fittingly dedicated the song to the people of Fort McMurray.

We’ll certainly be hearing more over the summer from both of these artists as there is plenty of great material on both of their new recordings.

Rankin and Dunn closed the show with a classic Rankin Family hit, North Country, and following an encore come back to deliver a rousing version of Movin’ On.

Following a show at the Highland Arts Theatre in Sydney and Strathspey Place Rankin and Dunn were slated to play two sold out shows at The Carleton in Halifax and another date in Truro.

Musical Connections

The most telling fact about pianist Kim Dunn is that he played piano in the "house band" at the Metro Centre for the Asian Relief concert last Tuesday. He hardly ever got off the stage. 
It's not something just any professional keyboard player could do. The concert took shape so fast that what with sound checks on the Sunday previous as well as on the day of performance, little time could be spent rehearsing.

A Job Well Dunn

When you go to concert, you want to hear the star: Bruce Guthro, Matt Minglewood, Rita MacNeil, or whomever. Most people won't give a thought to anyone else onstage, but these singers make music with the help of their band. 
If you looked to the left of the stage with all three of these artists, chances are the keyboard player would be Kim Dunn. From the Northside, his ability with any style of music has made him one of the hardest working sidemen in the business.

Chronicle Herald Article

It’s conceivable I’ve seen Kim Dunn perform more than almost any other East Coast musician, as the go-to man on keyboards for artists like Matt Minglewood, Rita MacNeil and Bruce Guthro.

But when I heard the North Sydney native take the spotlight at the recent Tunes for Troubled Times concert at the Rebecca Cohn, to sing the Great Depression-era pop standard No Love, No Nothing, it was something of a revelation. His soft, understated croon brought the decades-old song to life with just the right mix of blues and soul, making me think that Dunn had been hiding his light under a bushel for far too long.