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VOTD: Johnny Staats & the Delivery Boys “Rank Stranger”

Written by on June 6, 2024

A Song with Deep Roots

Many artists have covered Albert E. Brumley’s song “Rank Stranger.” However, Johnny Staats and the Delivery Boys’ rendition of the song at the Circa Blue Fest in 2018 stands out for its captivating quality.

The Lyrical Journey

The song tells the story of a person returning to their hometown only to find it drastically changed, making it feel unfamiliar. The protagonist walks on once-familiar streets, now surrounded by unfamiliar faces, even among family and old friends, highlighting a profound sense of isolation and disconnection.

The Emotional Pull

What sets Johnny Staats and the Delivery Boys’ interpretation apart is the emotional depth they bring to the performance. Staats’ poignant mandolin playing tugs at the heartstrings, and the soulful vocals invite listeners to reflect on their experiences of returning to places that no longer feel like home.

The Universal Message

“Rank Stranger” resonates because it speaks to a universal human experience. It captures the bittersweet reality of time’s passage and the nostalgia for what once was as the places and people we once knew change beyond recognition.


Johnny Staats and the Delivery Boys have delivered a version of “Rank Stranger” that is a powerful reminder of music’s ability to connect us to our deepest emotions. Their performance honors the past while speaking to the present, ensuring that “Rank Stranger” will continue to resonate with listeners for generations.

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