Roots rock singer-songwriter Jeff Plankenhorn, aka Plank, drops his latest album, Alone At Sea, a 10-track collection of blues-laced rock songs.
Produced by Colin Linden, the album highlights Plankenhorn’s songwriting, evocative vocals, and musicianship.
Born and raised in the Midwest, Plank’s musical travels began when his older brother gave Jeff his first guitar at age ten. Fast forward to his dropping out of college because his three bands (a bluegrass group, a hip-hop collective, and a 12-piece funk outfit) were doing so well.
His musical journey led to Memphis and a chance meeting with Texas singer-songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard – as well as to Plank’s 20-year sojourn in the Lone Star state. The slide guitarist’s next-level talent opened many doors leading Jeff to perform with the likes of Hubbard and Joe Ely, Ruthie Foster, Bob Schneider, and the late Jimmy LaFave. Plank has since moved to Vancouver Island in Canada.
Alone At Sea begins with “Bird Out On 9th,” traveling on a dark, bluesy guitar topped by Plank’s plaintive vocals. As the song progresses, a stripped-down rhythm gives the tune an uncooked cadence, accentuating the wistful textures of the song.
Entry points include the title track, which rolls out on a rumbling-lite rhythm featuring a rounded, rolling bassline as Plank’s expressive vocals imbue the lyrics with yearning savors.
According to Pank, “‘Alone At Sea’ is almost a stream of consciousness, a song I wrote combining the search for self-awareness and love for adventure. To find yourself alone but to be OK. But who will you leave behind?”
“Do A Little Dancing,” an upbeat country-blues tune delivers tangs of funk-lite, along with low-slung braying brass, giving the tune a pleasing, bouncy flow. Kind of sleazy and tinted with tropical flavors, “The Mess” undulates on oily surfaces that glide and slither on luscious harmonics.
A personal favorite because of its creamy rolling feel, “Bluer Skies” reveals the gentle, melodicism of Plank’s vocals as soft gleaming guitars infuse the tune with velvety, sparkling colors. A drifting, wailing guitar imbues the solo section with crying tones.
Dripping with sad, bluesy essence, “You’ll Stay” rides a mid-tempo rhythm that underscores the heartbreak of the lyrics: “I just want to hear you’ll stay.”
“Keep Me On Your Mind” ties the album off with its slow, floating layers of blues harmonics – weeping guitars, a melancholic piano, and a softly braying organ. Plank’s drawling vocals give the lyrics lonely, quixotic aromas.
With Alone At Sea, Jeff Plankenhorn offers listeners a scrumptiously structured album, exuding tasty blues mixed with superb vocals.
10.10 Grand Rapids, MI @ Rapids Brewery (solo)
10.11 Minneapolis, MN @ The Turf Club (solo) opening for Rum Ragged
10.12 Madison, WI @ Kiki’s House of Righteous Music (solo) – 8 pm
10.13 WGN – TV live on-air performance – 11:45 am
10.14 Berwyn, IL @ FitzGerald’s (solo) opening for Webb Wilder & The Beatniks – 8:30 pm
10.15 Effingham, IL @ Village Wine “Sundays Fundays” (solo)
10.16 Lexington, KY @ Woodsongs (NPR) taping (solo)
10.18 Knoxville, TN @ WDVX’s Blue Plate Special (solo) – noon
10.19 Nashville, TN @ The Analog at The Hutton (solo)
10.20 Nashville, TN @ The Bluebird Cafe (solo) in-the-round w/tbd – 9 pm
10.22 Austin, TX @ El Mercado w/The Purgatory Players
10.22 Austin, TX @ The Saxon Pub w/The Resentments
10.26 Oklahoma City, OK @ The Auditorium At Douglass (trio)
10.27 Greenville, TX @ Texan Theater (trio)
10.27 KWVH, Wimberley Valley Radio – on-air interview & performance – 10:15 am
10.28 Temple, TX @ Cultural Activities Center (trio)
10.29 Austin, TX @ The Saxon Pub w/The Resentments – 7pm
10.30 KWVH, Wimberley Valley Radio – on-air interview & performance (solo) – 10:15 am
10.31 Austin, TX @ The Saxon Pub – Dr. Plankenstein’s Halloween Horror Show
11.01 Austin, TX @ Guero’s/Texas Music Live (solo)
11.01 Good Day Austin – Morning TV
11.02 Houston, TX @ McGonigel’s Mucky Duck (solo) – 7 pm
11.03 New Braunfels, TX @ The Redbird (solo) – 8:30 pm
11.04 Austin, TX @ Stateside at the Paramount
The Stateside at the Paramount & The Saxon Pub presents BIG AUSTIN RECORD RELEASE SHOW
11.05 Fulton, TX @ The Inn at Fulton Harbor (solo)
11.07 New Braunfels, TX @ Roots & Branches KNBT taping w/Ray Wylie Hubbard
11.12 Austin, TX @ The Saxon Pub w/The Resentments – 7pm
11.21 The Folk Project – free live online event – Tickets here – 7 pm EST
11.30 Port Townsend, WA @ Rainshadow Recording (solo)
12.16 Austin, TX @ Klemm House Concert (solo)
12.17 Austin, TX @ The Center for Spiritual Living Central Texas (solo) – 11 am
12.17 Austin, TX @ @ The Saxon Pub w/The Resentments – 7:30pm
12.18 Austin, TX @ El Mercado w/The Supper Club (solo)
12.20 Austin, TX @ Armadillo Christmas Bazaar (solo) – 2 pm
01.11 Campbell River, BC @ Campbell River Theater (trio)
02.10 Santa Monica, CA @ McCabe’s Guitar Shop (solo) – supporting Robbie Fulks
03.15 La Grange, TX @ The Bugle Boy w/Michael O’Connor
03.16 Austin, TX @ Scarborough House Concert w/Michael O’Connor
03.17 Fischer, TX @ Devils Backbone w/Michael O’Connor – 1-4 pm
03.17 Austin, TX @ The Saxon Pub w/The Resentments
03.19 Sun City, TX @ House Concert w/Michael O’Connor
06.20 Effingham, IL @ Moccasin Creek Festival/The Reel Marina (solo) – 4 pm