Review: Michael Rank and Stag “Mermaids”

MR-StagI admit that I hadn’t heard much, if any, of Michael Rank’s songs until his album “Mermaids” showed up on my doorstep; literally. Michael Rank is a singer/songwriter from Chapel Hill, North Carolina who has “matured” (I mean this only in a descriptive sense) from the early days of rock n roll (Snatches of Pink) to a more calmer, relaxed, raw, stripped-down, acoustic, folksy, sound (Michael Rank and Stag) and has made that transition seamlessly. “Mermaids” was released on the label LOUDS HYMN and has gathered much praise from many different outlet. Rank isn’t the only one who deserves credit for this album though, many different musicians are to thank for the sounds you hear behind Rank’s raspy, southern drawl; Emily Frantz of Mandolin Orange (vocals), Nathan Golub (Pedal Steel), John Howie Jr. of Rosewood Bluff (drums), John Teer of Chatham County Line (fiddle/mandolin), Alex Iglehart of Calico Haunts (Electric Guitar), and some other guest appearances by mandolin, bass, accordion, piano, and lap steel players make “Mermaids” an instant folk rock classic.

If Keith Richards would’ve quit the Stones after he penned “Dead Flowers” and ran with that sound, this (Mermaids) is exactly what the album would sound like. If that isn’t enough of a visual then picture the Rolling Stones or Tom Petty, all stripped down (not naked, pervs), all acoustic and replace the guitars, keys, pedals, etc WITH violins, banjos, and fiddles. Doom country. Outlaw folk. Alternative Appalachian music. Y’all following me now? Good. Bottom-line: If you like slower, somewhat depressing, southern-tinged music flanked with an arsenal of string instruments that have been perfectly blended together to produce a sound that would make Gram Parsons proud, then this album needs to be added to your collection immediately. I spoke with Rank last night and he was in the studio working on another album so be prepared world; the mountains of Carolina are making some noise and Michael Rank and Stag are leading the charge. – JT

Michael Rank & Stag – Mermaids:

1. Stray
2. Shot of Gold
3. Bring Up You
4. Totems
5. Coming Hard
6. West
7. Words of the Pilot (part two)
8. Devil I Know
9. Skin
10. Mermaids

Get the album here:

• Bandcamp: http://michaelrank.bandcamp.com/

• iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/mermaids/id719736715

• CDbaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/michaelrankandstag3

• Website: http://www.michaelrankmusic.com/

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