RICHARD PLANK, originally from London, has been a key figure in Cornish musical life for many years and has worked and recorded with several other prominent performers, including Guy Charles.
In recent years he has toured twice in the UK with Doc Watson’s long-term guitar partner, Jack Lawrence. Richard was fortunate enough to have met and become friends with Doc Watson, himself, in Doc’s latter years, and he had the privilege of Doc dedicating a song to him during a sold-out concert in Atlanta, Georgia ten years ago.
Richard met ALAN WARD in Cornwall about 12 years ago and they have been playing together, on and off, since then. Alan was brought up in Liverpool and has played various types of music in several bands, most recently as the mandolin player in the ground-breaking UK bluegrass band A Band Like Alice.
In their formative years both Richard and Alan were strongly influenced by the exciting guitar music of Doc and Merle Watson from North Carolina. They also absorbed 1920s recordings by old time string bands such as Charlie Poole’s North Carolina Ramblers from whom the Watsons had also learned some of their own repertoire. Most of the songs and tunes on their 2016 CD, “Buck Dancer’s Choice”, are drawn directly or indirectly from these and similar sources.
The 14-track collection of their favourite and most requested songs and instrumentals includes their take on numbers by Charlie Poole, Norman Blake and their friend, the ever-popular Debby McClatchy, amongst others. Richard plays a 1997 Martin OM28VR, made for him in the Martin Guitar Custom Shop. Alan’s mandolin, a copy of a 1908 Gibson F4 three point but with f-holes, was made by Barry Ford of Kettering, UK, in 2007.
The album was recorded and co-produced by GUY CHARLES who have been friends and colleagues for a number of years since they both found each other living in the far west of Cornwall. They have combined their love of the acoustic guitar & hit the live music circuit together, bringing a fresh new sound & take to the Ancient Tones.
Guy’s background as an electric guitar player & songwriter in British New Wave, Punk & Rock music, adds both a passionate vocal delivery & clean, clear lead lines on acoustic guitar. Hell be familiar to a lot of festival-goers as a member of Cloudy In The West, local devotees of early country music.
Richard and Guy released “Going To The West” in 2008. Featuring twin acoustic guitars, Richard & Guy play & sing a stylish mix of early American Folk, Bluegrass, Blues & Old Time Fiddle Tunes. Accomplished playing, & with a feel for the music not often heard on this side of the ocean, Richard & Guy breathe fresh air into a fine collection of traditional American folk songs.
Their influences are well reflected in their choice of material; with Doc Watson, Norman Blake, Art Stamper, Charlie Poole & Mississippi John Hurt all represented on the album. The flatpicking of Guy Charles and fingerstyle of Richard Plank combine to produce rich melodies & great rhythms, in the mold of Doc & Merle Watson, with sensitive & sometimes contemporary arrangements of traditional tunes that are the hallmark of the best American acoustic musicians.
The album includes “Bully Of The Town”, which was the inaugural winner of the UKCountryRadio.com Listeners’ Club Song Award in 2009.