Jeff Plankenhorn, singer-songwriter and all things strings multi-instrumentalist—guitar, lap steel, mandolin, piano, upright bass—began his career as a boy soprano in Ohio. After studying music theory and composition at University of Michigan, Texas beckoned when Ray Wylie Hubbard enticed Jeff to join his band. Slide guitar virtuoso, Jeff spent his early career backing the likes of Hubbard and Joe Ely. His patented lap slide guitar, “the Plank,” with a distinctive sound derived from the instrument’s square neck and electric guitar body—netted him Austin Music Awards 2017 “Best Miscellaneous Instrument”.
Now a potent solo artist, his larger-than-life presence on stage binds together a host of talents into a powerful whole. His soulful roots rock gained him a seat among the best contemporary Americana songwriters, while the vocal clarity and power developed in his early years is unmistakable in his poignant baritone now. Jeff’s deep sense of community is evident in the Purgatory Players Gospel brunch, contributing 153,275 meals to the Texas Food Bank in 2019 and his fundraising efforts for the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. He has collaborated with Ray Wylie Hubbard, Joe Ely, Patty Griffin, Ruthie Foster, Bob Schneider, the Flatlanders, “Scrappy” Jud Newcomb and more.
Glide is premiering this spectral version of The Beatles’ “Wait” that showcases Plankenhorn laying down sublime picking with a soulful and intimate presentation, reinterpreting this classic wonderfully. Plankenhorn’s versatility and charisma are reminiscent of the works of Tommy Emmanuel and Billy Strings.
“Regarding the lyrics to this classic song, my interpretation always seemed a bit more dire than those of my contemporaries and friends. This arrangement allowed me to express that urgency through the finger style guitar and lap slide parts as well as the vocal tones. As much as a fan of The Beatles as I am, and as much as their music shaped my musicianship and songwriting from an early age, I never imagined I would cover a song by them. Hopefully people enjoy my take on it,” says Plankenhorn.
Photo by Todd Wolfson