With their eclectic, jazz-influenced sound, Charleston, South Carolina's Ranky Tanky take inspiration from the African-American Gullah culture of America's Southeast. The group features singer Quiana Parler, singer/guitarist Clay Ross, trumpeter/singer Charlton Singleton, bassist Kevin Hamilton, and drummer Quentin Baxter. Singleton, Hamilton, and Baxter initially played together in the jazz ensemble Gradual Lean in the late '90s, not long after graduating from the College of Charleston. The group members eventually drifted apart as each moved on to other projects over the ensuing years, until Ross was inspired to reunite the band around a new sound, infusing traditional Gullah songs with jazz, blues, folk, and gospel influences. For this new venture, they brought Charleston-born soulful vocalist Parler on board. Parler had previously competed on American Idol and toured nationally, working with such artists as Clay Aiken, Renee Olstead, Miranda Lambert, and others. In 2017, the group released its debut full-length album, the eponymous Ranky Tanky. ~ Matt Collar
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