Jeff Plankenhorn's songwriting, expressive vocals, and musicianship are front and center on his latest album, Alone At Sea, produced by Colin Linden (Bruce Cockburn, Keb Mo.) New sonic territory is explored on this gem of a long player.
The title track, "Alone at Sea," is a poignant ballad nestled between two of the album's many up-tempo tunes.It envisions an adventurous soul who's searching for self-awareness and learns to appreciate solitude, not unlike Plank's experience of moving to Canada's Vancouver Island from a 20-year stint in the landlocked confines of Austin, TX.
For Jeff Plankenhorn, there's nothing quite like the feeling of bringing people together to experience the joy music brings. He's so good at it that he's been recognized with Austin Music Award nominations for Musician of the Year, Best Guitarist, and Best Misc. Instrument - for “The Plank” a hybrid lap steel guitar Jeff designed himself. In 2016-2017, he also earned Album and Song of the Year nominations for his album, SoulSlide, and the single "Trouble Find Me." Listeners quickly get that Plank loves a good groove, but he's also become quite accomplished at composing ballads, as proven by two of the album's other standouts, "Bluer Skies" and You'll Stay." These days, Plank happily finds himself on the road over 150 days a year. "I like the idea that people get uplifted at my shows; there are many ways to escape the hubbub of day-to-day living. Dancing is one of the more noble and effective, better than any drug I've tried. I like the idea that everybody who walks in — I don't care if you're a biker or a drag queen — I want you there. Music is supposed to bring people together." His music does exactly that — whether people come to listen or do a little dancing. Or ideally, both.
In 2024, he’ll extend his reach into Europe & maybe Australia for the first time.
"Texan Alt. Country Folk Rock Filtered through a Cool Canadian Copper Still (headline) "Alone At Sea" combines a Folk Singers’ poetic sensibilities with a razor sharp melody and an arrangement that will send a shiver down your spine the first time you hear it. Juggling Sand is a Stones alike constrained rifferama from either (or both) their Exile on Main Street or Goats Head Soup eras that went some way to defining modern day Rock and Roll, and this song could and should be a perfect fit for whatever claims to be Rock Radio in 2023."
- The Rocking Magpie 9/29/23
"...not only will this material transport Plank around the globe, it also takes the listener on a journey — one you’ll be pretty pleased with no matter what mood you’re in. This is really good music"
- Area Resident/Tinnitist 9/29/23
"...his distinctive voice & sparse instrumentation that’s actually layered tones that are subtle & border between the darker Bob Dylan tunes & the melodic meanderings of Tom Waits. Very likable because Plankenhorn is a careful distance from basic mainstream artists. He walks his own road & sometimes it seems he makes his own road."
- John Apice/Americana Highways 9/28/23
"Yes, it turns out that Plankenhorn has recently relocated to Vancouver Island. For his followers, who have long associated him with Austin where he resided for twenty years, this is quite a change, and aptly the sonic territory is also new, still bluesy in a few spots but leaning more into a folk vernacular. His vocals here take precedence over his guitar mastery. The title track likely traces to the peace Plankenhorn has found in his new locale, as the protagonist learns to appreciate solitude rather than the desperation of being alone. It’s one “Plank” plans to offer in Spanish and French versions in November. Plankenhorn is not as easily pegged this time, indicative of an artist willing to venture into new turf - the brighter moments have staying power.”
- Jim Hynes/Glide Magazine 9/28/23
"Plankenhorn’s journey from stressed daily life, to peaceful pause, to peaceful daily life, is brilliantly underscored by the changes in arrangements. From exotic and ominous to soothing and calming to triumphant and joyful, the musical score could tell the story even without words. But Plankenhorn’s lyrics add depth and charm and personalize this cycle of life that we all face. “Alone At Sea,” is the cathartic break we all could use when we’re feeling stressed."
- Brian Rock/Turnstyled, Junkpiled - Roots Music Magazine 9/28/23
"The real revelations here, though, are the title track “Alone At Sea” and “Bluer Skies,” which chime and ring with richly melodic guitars as they
draw upon Plankenhorn’s natural charm as a singer."
- Peter Blackstock/No Depression Magazine, 9/21/23