Jeff Plankenhorn

Plank – 2004 (Blue Corn Music)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

CDs by Jeff Plankenhorn

Jeff Plankenhorn usually can be found onstage or in the studioalongside the likes of Eliza Gilkyson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Caroline Herring, and Slaid Cleaves (with whom he is currently touring). His debut release shows, however, that his strengths are not confined to his talents playing Dobro and various other guitars but extend to singing and songwriting as well.

He turns out to have a distinctive, rich singing voice, which hereveals on songs (all but two his own) that move smoothly among severalvarieties of roots music. There's a healthy amount of blues, from the lightly swinging "Not Be Lonely" to the electric "Lovesick Blues" to the acoustic, resonator-fueled "I'm So Low." There's folky, acoustic country ("Home Again" and "Teresa," which also weaves in some flamenco-style guitar), a little blue-eyed soul ("Go Now") and even some shuffling Tex-Mex ("Hurting You").

The disc's highlight, though, might just be the melancholic beauty provided by the combination of pedal steel and chromatic harmonica on "What You Need." All in all, a fine introduction to what Plankenhorn is capable of.