Though no other family members played an instrument, there was always music in the home, be it emanating from the TV on Saturday evenings (‘Cowtown Jamboree’ and Big ‘D’ Jamboree were locally produced live weekly shows featuring top name country artists of the day) AM radio also featured prominently, with KXOL, KFJZ, KLIF, KKDA, WBAP, WRR and KNOK providing a wide variety of sounds and styles to open and expand a young would-be musician’s ears long before the advent of ‘Underground’ Album Rock Radio stations like KFAD and KNUS, KTXQ ‘Q102’ and KZEW ‘The Zoo’ 98 FM.
Western Swing music also played a part, as Mr. and Mrs. Whittington were big fans of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. Probably the biggest influence in young Bud’s musical makeup was the record collection of his big sister, encompassing everything from British Invasion bands to R&B; hits of the day, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Beatles, Stones, The Who, The Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers to ‘The Temps and The Tops’, Gary ‘U.S.’ Bond, Jimmy Reed, and Slim Harpo.
A succession of fledgling musical efforts with varying degrees of success ensued, culminating in an offer by John Mayall to join The Bluesbreakers in 1993.
“The band I was in at the time, ‘The Sidemen’, had a good friend in Mr. Jerry Thompson, who these days is President of Promoterline Inc., but back then was managing the Dallas Alley complex, where he would book us as the opening act on any number of outdoor events and shows, and we were booked as the opener for a Bluesbreakers’ show…. Mr. Mayall asked me for my contact info, we stayed loosely in touch for the next two years, and when then-Bluesbreakers guitarist Coco Montoya decided it was time to hit the highway on his own, I ‘received the call’ and appeared on countless Mayall shows and recordings worldwide for the 15 years between 1993 and 2008, at which time the existing Bluesbreakers were ‘kicked out of the nest’ and the band was reformed by Mayall.”
Buddy’s self-titled solo CD appeared in 2007, and has garnered very favorable reviews and considerable airplay. The CD, recorded at Hurricane Sound in Garland, Texas by engineer / producer / drummer / ‘ubertalentedmultiinstrumentalist’ Mike Gage, features performances by Gage, longtime bassist Wayne Six, co-guitarist Michael ‘Mouse’ Mayes, and this configuration makes up the core of the current working band. ‘We can play just about anything we need to between us, as we have all ‘played in different bands together’ for years, and really enjoy working with each other.’ says Bud, who is currently writing songs for his second solo outing.
Like many other artists, Jeff found his voice in the church choir of his boyhood home in Ohio, “It was my first sense of belonging, community, and a feeling of doing good for others when we sang,” he recalls. Given a guitar from his older brother (an accomplished musician in his own right), Plank immediately found his calling as a musician, and began a lifetime calling of mastering the stringed instruments that spoke to him. His high school days, full of recording and performing, led him to the University of Michigan where he quickly became a mainstay in the Ann Arbor music scene. Following college, Jeff headed to Nashville to continue his education, “studying” under the likes of Uncle Josh Graves, Gene Wooten, and Jerry Douglas. Never satisfied with the status quo, Jeff was intrigued by the suggestion of songwriting legend Ray Wylie Hubbard of coming to Austin, Texas. Upon arriving in the Lone Star State, Plankenhorn’s Swiss army knife abilities immediately created a high demand for his talents, and he began adding to a resume that includes appearances on records by such luminaries as Joe Ely, Ray Wylie, Slaid Cleaves, Eliza Gilkyson, Jimmy Lafave and many more.
All of these experiences have led to Jeff’s currently tireless schedule of playing shows that include, song driven folk solo appearances, slide guitar heavy rock ‘n’ roll/soul shows with his own band, as well as the many standing dates with the collaborative Austin bands, The Apostles of Manchaca, The Purgatory Players, and the Resentments. 2016 will have Jeff amping up his national touring schedule with band shows, solo gigs and festival appearances, all while maintaining his presence in the Austin scene. The year promises to let the rest of the country in on what so many other musicians and the entire Austin music community have been enjoying for years now.