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Ranky Tanky meets Lisa Fischer for a moving performance in the KNKX studios

With three Grammy awards and an Oscar combined, singer Lisa Fischer and the roots band Ranky Tanky are a serious group of musicians. But when you put them together their music can make you feel like, as Fischer put it, "I'm on a hot wire! Whoo!!"

The veteran vocalist known for her appearance in the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom, Fischer long ago earned the respect and love of her collaborators in Ranky Tanky. In this performance in Studio X, at KNKX's Seattle studios, it felt like they were made for each other.

Ranky Tanky's updated versions of folk music drawn from the Gullah tradition of African slaves and their ancestors on America's southeastern coast are honored by Fischer's gospel-powered blues delivery.

Fischer also brings her own musical influences to the group, as heard in their version of "Come Together" by The Beatles. The song brings Fischer's and Ranky Tanky vocalist Quiana Parler's voices together in a funky groove. Their version of "Wild Horses," by Fischer's longtime collaborators The Rolling Stones, is a ballad with Fischer backed by a spare guitar, bass and drums trio.

It was the mashup of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" with Ranky Tanky's original tune "Freedom" that brought the most passion from this joyous group. Rewritten lyrics express frustration with the continued struggle of Black people in America, tying the past to the present and finishing with a powerfully optimistic flourish that had Fischer laughing and exclaiming with glee.

We know this special KNKX studio session will have you both reaching for a tissue and dancing in the aisles with Ranky Tanky and Lisa Fischer. They left us with the promise that this new collaboration is just the beginning, there's more soul-stirring music to come.


  • Lisa Fischer - vocals
  • Quiana Parler - vocals
  • Charleton Singleton - trumpet, vocals
  • Clay Ross - guitar, vocals
  • Kevin Hamilton - bass
  • Quentin Baxter - drums


  1. Come Together (Lennon/McCartney)
  2. This Land Is Your Land (Woody Guthrie)/Freedom (Ranky Tanky)
  3. Wild Horses (Rolling Stones)
Abe grew up in Western Washington, a third generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.
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