Friday, April 3, 2009

Anthony Rankin--written in Spring 2008

photo courtesy of Anthony Rankin EPK

Anthony Rankin

Pittsburgh, PA



It is only a matter of time until Anthony Rankin makes it onto Top 40 radio station playlists. His third and latest album, “The Distance,” is full of catchy melodies and infectious riffs that will make listeners scramble for air guitars. While these poppy tunes are not always the most original, they certainly are fun and an excellent choice of music for a sunny summer afternoon.

Rankin, a Pittsburgh native who frequently is compared to both Jon Bon Jovi and early U2, writes mature and melodic songs that balance shrieking guitars with meaningful lyrics. The opening track to the newest album, “Under the Radar” is an excellent candidate for first single, and could easily fit between Howie Day and John Mayer on the radio.

But don’t judge all of Rankin’s music by that song, because most of the other songs are heavier on guitar and rock. Both “Smoke and Mirrors” and “Left to Say” feature squealing guitar and reveal a more raw side of Rankin’s voice. The songs do sound a lot like Bon Jovi circa the 1980s at points, which makes them a little less unique but still lots of fun. Lyrics such as “There’s nothing but smoke and mirrors / under your skin / Lies and tears just waiting within / You cut the line after you reeled me in / Smoke and mirrors / Under your skin…” help establish Rankin as a mature, accomplished songwriter as well as musician.

“Losing the Battle,” takes the album in a different direction. This song shows a softer side of Rankin’s music, mixing piano in with grand choruses and a still-shrieking guitar. The end result is pretty, although not as fun and catchy as the rest of the CD.

Rankin’s live performances are flexible and vary greatly depending on the conditions. His band normally consists of Dom Liberati (bass guitar, vocals), BC Taylor (drums, percussion), and Travis Hoard (keys, additional guitar, sax, vocals). However, it can be cut down to a three or expanded up to five depending on the type of show.

“The Distance” was released in October 2007 to rave reviews and a sold-out CD party at Pittsburgh’s Hard Rock CafĂ©. Afterwards, Borders Books and Music sponsored a solo acoustic tour through over ten cities in the northeastern United States. It seems only a matter of time before he will be playing rock shows all over the country. The “distance” between Rankin and stardom certainly is not much further.


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