Jeff Plankenhorn is a versatile lap steel guitarist, well established in the Austin, Texas music scene, who delivers a funky, crusty and soulful performance on his unique new solo album, SoulSlide.
Plankenhorn, who has collaborated with artists like Joe Ely and Ray Wylie Hubbard, says he found his voice while singing in the church choir growing up in Ohio. After college at the University of Michigan, “Plank” headed for Nashville to pursue his passion for the guitar but headed for Austin upon Hubbard’s suggestion. His first solo effort, Plank, was released in 2004. That was followed by The Speed of Hope and Live at the Saxon Pub in 2012.
His slide style gives Plankenhorn a distinctive, powerful presence, sounding at times haunting and blues like on “Lose My Mind” coauthored by Gary Nicholson, at times ethereal like on “Kansas City Nocturne,” and at times funky like on “Born to Win.” For SoulSlide, Plankenhorn was joined by Ruthie Foster, who sang a duet with him on “Like Flowers” and sang backup on “Dirty Floor,” Malford Milligan, who sang with him on a cover of Isaac Hayes and David Porter’s “You Got Me Hummin’,” and members of the Resentments (Jud Newcomb, Bruce Hughes and John Chipman), who joined him on “Vagabond Moonlight” and the rocking “Live Today.” Also joining Plank were guitarist Mike Zuniga, who co-authored several tunes, bassist Yoggie, drummer Brannen Temple, multi-instrumentalist Dave Scher, keyboardists Rami Jaffe and Peter Adams, guitarist Tim Pierce, percussionist Ross Hogarth, and Josh Stuebe and Clark Hamilton.
Audio Stream: Jeff Plankenhorn, “Lose My Mind”
About the author: Bill Wilcox is a roots music enthusiast recently relocated from the Washington, DC area to Philadelphia, PA and back again.