Joe Ely has been a leader on the Texas and national music scene since the Texas Progressive Country/Redneck Rock days of the 70s, both with his own band and with the Texas Panhandle band known as The Flatlanders. There, he partnered up with two other guys from the Lubbock area, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock, and together they maintained quite a presence in the changing country music scene.
And with that setting, if you’ve seen Joe lately, or others of that ilk, it’s likely you’ve seen Jeff Plankenhorn on stage with him or them.
Joe Ely can make a song out of just about any image or word set handed to him, and he proved that again at the Texan Theater in Greenville, Texas, Friday night (Jan. 20, 2017). With such originals as his “Me and Billy the Kid,” which he laughed when he explained how he had to change the lyrics a smidgen once he saw a photo of Billy the Kid playing croquet, and with him singing a Guy Clark song, a musical hero of his, it’s a truism that Mr. Ely can, in fact, write hot-dang good songs.
Mr. Plankenhorn is also a songwriting genius, as demonstrated on his release of last year, SoulSlide, which is a powerhouse mix of soul and rock. When at WoodyFest 2016, Jeff was constantly backing up the other artists also on the bill, just as he was there to back of Joe Ely at the Texan Theater, using his own special steel guitar, mandolin, and acoustic guitar.
And it was more than often that Joe was seen looking at Jeff’s licks with amazement and respect.
Upcoming shows at the unique Texan Theater can be found on its Website, TexanTheaterGreenville.com