JOEL PLASKETT EMERGENCY: Truthfully TruthfullyWith a nomination as â€œSongwriter of the Yearâ€ at the 2006 Juno Awards (along with the likes of Neil Young, Ron Sexsmith, Kathleen Edwards and The Arcade Fire), itâ€™s pretty safe to say that Canada knows a fair amount about Joel Plaskett. If youâ€™re not Canadian, it might be instructive to have a little background information â€“ so here it isâ€¦
Born in Berwick, Nova Scotia, Joel has been playing in bands of one sort or another since adolescence. While still in high school, now in Halifax, Joel â€“ with friends Ian McGettigan, Rob Benvie and Cliff Gibb â€“ formed Thrush Hermit, a band that would become synonymous with the youthful scene that followed in the footsteps of Sloan and the SubPop signings from the region: Ericâ€™s Trip, Hardship Post and jale.
The band started recording as young teens and released their first record â€“ Smart Bomb - on Sloanâ€™s Murderecords label. Extensive touring and teenage exuberance eventually found them signed to U.S. major Electra Records but an A&R shift in the company ended that after one album. Their independent follow up, Clayton Park, was the most played record at Canadian college radio in 1999. And then The Hermit splitâ€¦
Plaskett quickly moved on to a â€œsoloâ€ career and the release of his first post Hermit project, In Need of Medical Attention, immediately established him as a force on the Canadian indie landscape. A decidedly lo-fi effort, In Need Of Medical Attention nonetheless garnered rave reviews here and internationally.
At this point Joel decided to put a band together and that band â€“ Joel Plaskett Emergency â€“ was responsible for the next release, Down AtThe Khyber in 2001. Khyber amped up the stakes and the band toured relentlessly in Canada with a couple of forays into the UK, getting great reviews along the way. Considered a classic album in Canada, it also garnered Joel a Juno nomination for Best New Artist.
Plaskett signed to major Canadian independent label MapleMusic Recordings in early 2003. The first release for the label, Truthfully Truthfully, was a full-on rock album and further established the band as one of Canadaâ€™s best live acts. The following year saw them in the countryâ€™s largest venues, opening for fans The Tragically Hip. Truthfully Truthfully was also nominated for a Juno award in the Best Alternative Album category.
2005 started with Joel deciding to take a working vacation in Arizona on a break from the bandâ€™s hectic schedule. He came home with a solo album called La De Da. Initially thought of as a watershed project, the album proved to be a hit with fans and critics alike. The resulting solo tour of Canada was a virtual sell-out, including three shows at Torontoâ€™s premiere singer/songwriterâ€™s venue, Hughâ€™s Room and a triumphant tour-ending concert at The Rebecca Cohn auditorium in Halifax for 1000 rabid hometown fans. He also managed to tour in the US and the UK both solo and with the band.
The new year is already shaping up to be the busiest in Joelâ€™s career. Accolades for La De Da have translated into East Coast Music Award nominations and another Juno nomination for Songwriter of the Year. He is slated to hit the road solo as opening act for both Sarah Harmer and Kathleen Edwards in America. Heâ€™ll also finally find his way to Australia (a destination thatâ€™s always been on his wish list) to support the release of La De Da there. On returning from Oz, the band will go about the business of touring Canada in support of Make a Little Noise, the amazing new DVD that includes band and solo performances, along with Joelâ€™s complete video library and plenty of other bells and whistles, not the least of which is an EP with three brand-spanking-new Emergency tunes produced by Gordie Johnson and featuring â€“ among others â€“ Ian McLagan of Faces fame on keyboards.
OTHER PERTINENT INFORMATION
As a performer, he can hold his own with the best of them, whether itâ€™s alone with an acoustic guitar or with the support of his excellent Emergency band and thatâ€™s not always a common talent. Itâ€™s a lucky thing too, because heâ€™s equally fond of both styles.
Heâ€™s never made the same record twice and probably never will. Although heâ€™s already got a body of work thatâ€™s two or three times the size of artists twice his age, he shows no signs of slowing down. As a talent, thereâ€™s no question how far he can go. As a guy, a human being, heâ€™s as charming and unaffected as youâ€™d hope heâ€™d be and maybe thatâ€™s what defines him as Canadian, the unusual combination of those two simple facts. Youâ€™ll be pleased to meet him.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Written All Over Me
2. Work Out Fine
3. Mystery And Crime
5. Come On, Teacher
6. The Red Light
7. Radio Fly
8. You Came Along
9. Lights Down Low
10. The Day You Walked Away
11. All The Pretty Faces
12. Heart To Heart With Lionel