To tour, or not to tour: there is no question
Midwest/East Coast/Southern Ontario then on the 2 weeks in Colorado
As always, scroll down to see my upcoming dates and gig info with the links below, check my website, or follow my Bandsintown for regular updates.
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“So you fly into some town with a couple guitars and a suitcase, pick up a rental car and then drive around to gigs by yourself playing shows all over?” — this is the question a truly curious friend of mine (who is from a stellar, hit-writing, touring rock band and who shall remain anonymous). “Yeah, that about sums it up,” I replied.
“Oh man, I would hate that.”
It’s certainly not for everyone. Not to mention you probably wouldn’t like it much if you were used to the bus life; having roadies hauling your gear and setting it up for you, having road managers making sure you are out of bed, and making sure you are in the hotel lobby on time, and even making sure you are to the radio station or record store on time (we still do play them and they still do exist). My existence doesn’t seem all to appealing to my friend, and I get it.
But of all the touring bands I was lucky enough to play stadiums in (and there were only a handful), most of the lead artists were assholes. In every instance, I quit. It was fun for a hot minute. Then it was drudgery.
I don’t mind living on a bus; quite the contrary. I can say honestly when I had a great bus driver (one who I trusted who hardly ever hit the rumble strips on the side of the road) I could sleep better on a bus than anywhere else. Once you get into your bunk it’s like a sensory depravation tank. Closing the curtain usually makes it pitch black with no light coming in, and the only sound you hear is the wheels on the highway, and the occasional air brakes when the driver stops to get some more of their “gogo juice” of choice.
Waking up in another town is fun, I just usually have to drive myself to get to the next gig. I still get to meet loads of good people, eat incredible food, and see beautiful cities, towns, landscapes, and so much more. The difference is I have to also do all the accounting when I get back to the hotel after the gig. Merchandise, ticket sales, percentages to my team, expenses to be written off, and a few more odds and ends before I hit the sheets. Sometimes at the Radisson. Sometimes at the Motel 6.
When I do wake up and before I move on, I have to post on socials. This is probably my least favorite job on a solo songwriter tour. Finding something interesting to post, to everyone’s ever-diminishing attention spans, that will entice them to come to the next gig, in the next town. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — you wouldn’t believe how sick I get of me.
Sometimes I have to stop and find a pretty view because I truly cannot stand one more picture of “me with a guitar” or “me with a funny look” and some sort of “come check me out tonight in___” you get the idea.
But enough complaining.
I get to do what I love, for a living. And it has never gotten old. So I don’t suppose it will anytime soon.
I still get to play full band, rock out, loud and proud gigs. Both on Vancouver Island and in Texas, where I can afford to bring them and pay them and my team well. Festivals and concert series near where I live on Vancouver Island or near Austin, TX are where I really get to call amazing players to back me up. Who wouldn’t want Cari Hutson both wailing and delicately harmonizing beside them at ever gig they could possible snag her for? Who wouldn’t want stellar rhythm sections and guitar players backing them up, making them sound even better than they would on their own.
Accompanists hardly ever get the respect they deserve, and most of the ones I know front their own bands brilliantly. So when you are lucky enough to have them play with you should treat them like gold. And a word to the younger musicians with “hired guns” backing them up on stages near a far — never say this is “my drummer,” or “my backup singer” unless they work for you and no one else. Maybe Bruce Springsteen gets to call the E-Street band “my band,” but there are very few folks that have that right. Unless you are their sole source of income, or by the far the biggest!
I personally like to say, “I’m very lucky to have Gabriel Rhodes playing with me tonight.” That’s the kind of thing Eliza Gilkyson or Joe Ely would say when I was backing them up. Sounds pretty gracious, right?
Anyway I digress…
4 hours is usually about the limit of how far I should drive before I play a gig. Especially if I had one the night before and have one the next night. Takes me an hour usually just to do business when I get to the hotel at night (usually between 11pm and 1am) and it usually takes an hour to do business and get on the road in the morning. Throw in that 4-hour drive (sometimes more if I have to - like Denver to Telluride in June maybe?) and a check in at the hotel before the gig. Then head over to the gig, let’s say I’m the headliner playing around 9pm. There’s a good chance my soundcheck will be anywhere between 3-5pm. Then I go and setup a little merchandise table for after the gig, that I will run myself. I sell quite a bit more when someone is selling for me, but that’s another expense and if I’m not playing a festival or a big band gig, it’s usually not worth it. So it falls back on me. If I’m lucky there’s a restaurant nearby with food that passes for either healthy or delicious, or I am at a house concert in which case you really roll the dice on that one.
My work day is not much different than the average person’s working day it’s just spread out differently, and then you get the payoff of performing your own songs to a (hopefully) captive audience that gets something from you. For me, it’s always been about connection. My work week when on the road is everyday if I can swing it, which usually means one or two days off on a 3-week run. 3 weeks, by the way, is about all I can stand without having to go home to recharge. Somehow it has also become the perfect amount of time for my wife to have me away; she’s introverted and extremely dedicated to her art (horticulture) and if I’m gone three weeks it goes like so: first week, we mostly text throughout the day, second week we pay some bills and add getting on Facetime a little, third week goes extremely fast and I’m home before either of us have a chance to get ready. She’s a patient gal, who prefers not to be on tour (she knows how long my days are and she’ll never see me). We have a pretty good thing going at ten years into marriage.
My sincere hope is that as I get better at the solo thing, make some more fans and friends along the way thus building a little better number of attendees at my shows and a little more income, I’ll be able to pick-and-choose a bit more. Not be away so much. It’s not just Donyne I miss when I’m away…
Not to mention my family of out-laws that I have gratefully married into. Canadians to the core, wonderful, giving, and thoughtful, I really hit the jackpot on that one.
Alright so that’s enough I thought I might just share a little taste of what I would be in fo for the next 3 weeks (then home for a week, then out 2 weeks). I love it!
I hope to catch some of you out there.
Midwest/East Coast/Southern Ontario tour dates in May!
Colorado dates first 2 weeks of June!
Jeff Plankenhorn at Music in the Gazebo
Sat, May 6 @ 6:30PM
Jeff Plankenhorn (solo) performs at this nice House Concert Series. Tickets/suggested donation is $20. Doors open at 6pm, showtime is 6:30pm. Ticket link coming soon...
The Stillwater River Lodge
Sun, May 7 @ 12:00PM
Jeff Plankenhorn performs a solo concert at The Stillwater River Lodge. Doors open at 11:30am, the show begins at noon.
Mon, May 8 @ 7:00PM
Wed, May 10 @ 8:30PM
FITZGERALDS SIDEBAR PRESENTS:JEFF PLANKENHORN for a FREE SHOW (w/Tip Jar)! Click Book Now to RSVP for guaranteed entry. The show begins at 8:30pm sharp.
Jeff Plankenhorn is a world-class songwriter and had been an accompanist to the stars and first-call session musician in Texas (Joe Ely, Ruthie Foster, Ray Wylie Hubbard, etc.) for 16 years when he decided to go solo with his critically acclaimed SoulSlide album (featuring performances by Ruthie Foster, Malford Milligan, Rami Jaffe (Foo Fighters, The Wallflowers), and The Resentments, with co-writes from Bret Dennen, Gary Nicholson, and Miles Zuniga (Fastball). Hes a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist who designed his own signature lap-steel The Plank that gained him an Austin Music Award in 2017. As a Black Fret major grant recipient in 2018 and with the release of his second full-length album as a solo artist, Sleeping Dogs (featuring Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Patty Griffin, and co-produced by Scrappy Jud Newcomb). His hard work is paying off and hes building his audience at festivals and venues all over Canada & the US, building lifelong friends and fans along the way.
His current releases are a pair of EP’s Covered/Uncovered Vols.I and II. He’s recording a new album with Producer Colin Linden in April for a Sept 29th release via Blue Corn Music. In 2024, he’ll extend his reach into Europe for the first time.
Grab dinner before the show at BABYGOLD BARBECUE ***PARKING***There is rather limited street parking in the area, we recommend arriving by rideshare, bicycle, or rickshaw. ***AGE RESTRICTIONS***21+, Minors admitted with guardian!
The Southgate House Revival
Thu, May 11 @ 10:00PM
Fri, May 12 @ 7:00PM
Jeff Plankenhorn performs at a Private House Concert in Pittsburgh.
The Marcus Backyard
Sat, May 13 @ 4:00PM
Private show with other performers. 4-630pm
Plank performs a 1 hour set
Private House Concert
Mon, May 15 @ 7:00PM
Tue, May 16 @ 8:00PM
Private House Concert
Wed, May 17 @ 7:00PM
Bop Shop Records
Fri, May 19 @ 8:00PM
Come join Plank for stories and songs at this iconic record store.
The Dakota Tavern
Sat, May 20 @ 7:00PM
Jeff Plankenhorn (solo) in Toronto, ON at The Dakota Tavern! Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 day-of show for this 19+ ages event. Doors open at 6:30pm. Jeff begins at 7pm.
Jeff Plankenhorn @ private house concert
Thu, Jun 1 @ 7:00PM
Jeff Plankenhorn @ Telluride Ski Resort
Fri, Jun 2 @ 5:15PM
Sat, Jun 3 @ 8:00PM
Join Plank on his solo songwriter tour of Colorado
Pickin and Grinnin
Sun, Jun 4 @ 7:00PM
Solo show check out the link for details!
Grand Mesa Arts & Events Center
Wed, Jun 7 @ 7:00PM
Guilty Pleasure Concert Series presents...
Jeff Plankenhorn performs in Cedaredge, CO @ the Grand Mesa Arts & Event Center. Doors open at 6pm, the show begins at 7pm. Tickets are $30 for this 21+ ages show.
Sat, Jun 10 @ 1:30AM
Join Plank for his solo songwriter tour with Cup o' Joe opening both sets at 130pm and 330pm
Palisade Brewing Company
Sun, Jun 11 @ 2:00PM
Join Plank for his solo songwriter tour of Colorado!
Livestream Live At Lunch on KRFC Fort Collins
Fri, Jun 16 @ 12:00PM
enjoy this stellar online/radio concert series at
Rockland/Fairfield House Concert - Victoria, BC (PRIVATE) SOLD OUT!
Sun, Jun 18 @ 3:00PM
Jeff Plankenhorn (trio) performs at this very cool Victoria, BC House Concert. Suggested donation is $30 Canadian. The show begins at 3pm. PRIVATE EVENT
Sharon Prete Main Street Plaza
Wed, Jun 28 @ 7:00PM
Jeff Plankenhorn (band) performs a big FREE SHOW in Round Rock, TX at Sharon Prete Main Street Plaza. The show begins at 7pm. More details to come...
San Marcos Plaza Park
Thu, Jun 29 @ 7:00PM
Jeff Plankenhorn (band) performs a big FREE SHOW in San Marcos, TX at San Marcos Plaza Park as part of their cool annual Summer in the Park series (thrilled to be back). The show begins at 7pm. More details to come...
Sat, Jul 1 @ 8:00PM
Jeff & his band return to The Saxon Pub! Tickets $20 advance, $25 day-of show. The show in March SOLD OUT so advise ya to get tix early.
McGonigel's Mucky Duck
Thu, Jul 27 @ 7:00PM
Jeff Plankenhorn (solo) returns to The Mucky Duck for the early show tonight. Doors open at 6pm, showtime 7pm sharp! Tickets are $30 in advance. Expect him to preview many of the new songs from his forthcoming new album, Alone at Sea. Get your tickets in advance (strongly recommended).
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