Joel & Bill Plaskett: Finding solidarity through conversation and song

Saturday 01st, December 2018 / 20:31
By Tory Rosso

Joel and Bill Plasket
Photo by Lindsay Duncan

CALGARY – If you bring up the name Joel Plaskett to any Canadian musical connoisseur, it echoes with instant familiarity. The Juno award-winning artist – who resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia – has enjoyed a long and varied career in the music industry.

Back in the ‘90s, Plaskett started with the seminal hoser-rock band Thrush Hermit before finding critical and commercial acclaim with Joel Plaskett Emergency in the 2000s. His 2007 album Ashtray Rock is a favourite among toque wearin’, ice hockey lovin’ beer swiggers and he’s amassed an impressive collection of solo recordings since then.He’s an experienced artist, performer, and producer, but like any hard working musicians, he’s happy to continue grinding it out on the road.

“I’ve loaded my gear out of clubs at 2:30 in the morning and gotten to sleep at five for weeks at a time. Cutting our teeth in bars, playing sweaty rock & roll, I loved it. But there’s something nice about being able to play in a theatre with your dad now,” Plaskett chuckles.

With his father Bill, Joel Plaskett released the album Solidarity via Pheromone Recordings in 2017. Although this was not their first experience in the studio together, the album and subsequent touring process has proven to be a wholesome experience for Joel.

“The common ground between us is what the record is about, and also about solidarity in the sense of two of us trying to present something together,” he notes. “It was a challenging record to make because trying to present something cohesive that’s intergenerational was the trick.”

Fortunately Bill and Joel have always been close, with both of Joel’s parents being a constant pillar of support in all of his musical endeavors. Spending time together on the road, however, has strengthened their bond as father and son.

“We get to spend time together, get along well and have interesting conversations. I get to learn more about him every day and vice versa. I think it’s taken our connection to another level,” Plaskett gushes heartwarmingly.

The sounds they craft together are more in the folk or traditional vein than what fans of Joel Plaskett have come to know and love, but it’s a delightful divergence filled with honest songwriting and subtle acoustics.
Joel says he’d also like to produce for his Dad, something that would put the spotlight firmly on the elder Plaskett.

“I hope we get to do something else again. I’d love to record my Dad on his own. Just put a microphone in front of him and make a Bill Plaskett record.” Joel states with eagerness.

Joel & Bill Plaskett perform Dec. 6 at Meyer Horowitz Theatre (Edmonton), and Dec. 7 at The Bella Concert Hall (Calgary).

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