Joel Plaskett Emergency
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Joel Plaskett Emergency

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | MAJOR

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | MAJOR
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“With La De Da, one of this country’s brightest young talents provides even more proof that the singer-songwriter tradition that turned troubadours like Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Young into national icons is alive and well.”

- Canadian Music Network


Fully flexed, The Joel Plaskett Emergency releases their fifth and most vibrant album yet, displaying the musical intelligence of Plaskett. The album is constructed in a story format, starting with an Introduction of peculiar mixings, but once this has passed the tracks take off in perfect formation. Instrumentally, there is more prominence of digital sounds within the tracks than previous albums, especially on Fashionable People which is a nicely composed pop song comparable to Nowhere With You in its catchy beat.

On the first half of Ashtray Rock the musical style of the songs seems to progress in time, moving through the ages and the feeling of growing older, a definite theme within Plaskett's lyrics. The high point of the album comes with Snowed In/Cruisin'. If there were ever a song to transcend Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, The Joel Plaskett Emergency have pulled it off here.

Continuing on in perfect story form there is a fall in the tempo and the lyrics move towards reflection to make you feel that a lesson has been learnt by that person who is growing older, and cleverly ending with the Outroduction*. Lyrically this album is transfixed in the coming of age tale of young Canadians mixed with some of the most brilliantly composed music from The Joel Plaskett Emergency to date.

This is a remarkable album.

Brayden Unwin
April 2007
- Beatroute Magazine


MapleMusic ( 05/02/07)

(4 stars ****)

Nova Scotia's Joel Plaskett successfully merges his '70s-style rock side and his mellower acoustic on the Emergency's latest effort. It's a loose concept album based on the fictional story of a band from Nova Scotia forming in high school at the teen hangout "Ashtray Rock" (an actual place in Northcliffe Park), then later breaking up over a girl. The album kicks off with the sing-along party anthem "Drunk Teenagers". Following that is the title track, a little piano-led ditty (played by none other than The Faces/Small Faces Ian McLagan), and then "Fashionable People", a song likely to have fans arguing over how good it is or isn't. The song has got a great groove and a killer bridge leading into the chorus ... but then it gets to the chorus, a poppy falsetto bit that, depending on your taste is either really cool or really irritating. It's grown on me a bit, but still. That however, is the only part of the album that has me scratching my head. "Snowed In/Cruisin'" starts off as an awesome rocker that breaks down later into a dreamy, acoustic guitar-led piece. "Face Of The Earth" is another upbeat, catchy tune. It's the latter part of the album where he slows things down a bit. "The Glorious Life" is a sweeping story song and "Chinatown/For The Record" is a sweet little acoustic-plucked nugget. An awesome instrumental track with snippets of dialogue and a rocking ending builds the album towards it's grand finale in "Soundtrack for the Night" that you'll find yourself singing along to before you know it.

It takes a few listens for everything to sink in, but it's worth it. A great record.

- Moncton Times & Transcript


JOEL PLASKETT EMERGENCY Ashtray Rock (Maple/Universal)

April 2007

A minute into hoser anthem "Drunk Teenagers," there's a gang-hollered, "I hate Clayton Park!" It's a line sure to send panic shivers through the hearts of fans of Plaskett's last band, Thrush Hermit. But the lyric is merely an attention-grabbing dangle to Ashtray Rock's greater narrative. It's really a concept album about two young rockers caught in a band-fracturing love triangle. It's easily the best thing Plaskett's ever done, as well as one of the most ambitiously executed Can-rock records in years. On their own, the songs are superb. In first single "Snowed In/Cruisin'" and "The Instrumental," Plaskett brilliantly reclaims the riff-rock he'd seemingly forgotten in his solo years. The Mamas And The Papas tease of "Nothing More To Say" is ensnaring, and "Fashionable People" is like an anti-Bowie response track plucked from the past. Best, though, is that beyond being excellent songs on their own, they all work towards the greater story, which you'll be busy listening to over and over in order to uncover the subtle details. Ashtray Rock is the album where Plaskett makes his case to follow names like Young, Lightfoot and Cohen. Aaron Brophy
- Chart Attack


"Its easily the best thing Plaskett's ever done, as well as one of the most ambitiously executed Can-rock records in years…Ashtray Rock is the album where Plaskett makes his case to follow names like Young, Lightfoot and Cohen. - Eye Weekly – Toronto Star ****


"Ashtray Rock has been building since its release in mid-April. Acclaimed as this Best-ever record, the disc is sure to rocket the rail-thin rocker to the top of the alternative music scene. For once, it's time to believe the hype: Joel Plaskett's Ashtray Rock is a flat-out sonic masterpiece."

Ron Foley MacDonald
- The Daily News - Ron Foley MacDonald


I guess you could say I'm a Joel Plaskett fan. I might as well put that out there right off the bat. If you come over to my house, I'll pause the Make a Little Noise DVD at just the right moment when you can see me in the crowd, clapping and bobbing around to the melody.

I will also confess upfront that I am also a band geek. I'm a trumpet player, but any and all instrumental tunes will do.

So imagine my euphoria as Plaskett appears from backstage, clad in his unique style in white suspenders and '30s-inspired tuxedo pants, and behind him is the 37-piece Symphony Nova Scotia.

As part of the Halifax Pop Explosion and the Symphony Nova Scotia's Maritime Pop series, the two genres intertwined to create a generation-joining soiree of music.

I've never experienced a Joel Plaskett Emergency concert while sitting in a chair; I'm used to wiggling my way through a sweaty crowd to get closer to the stage. But the atmosphere of the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium was warm and inviting, just as a concert with the boy next door should be. After all, how many musicians bring friends and family along? Plaskett's dad Bill and sister Anna, as well as other friends and, of course, The Emergency nestled in with the symphony for the ideal fit.

Plaskett blended nicely in a somewhat more formal setting than his patrons are accustomed to and it was a notably different crowd than one that might rush the stage at a Keith's birthday celebration.

Many audience members raised their hands when asked if it was their first Plaskett show. Many of the university-aged groupies admitted to never having seen the symphony. So maybe it was a cultural eye-opener for all involved.

In Work Out Fine, Plaskett called for some help from the audience with the line "what the f--k" and some shocked laugher came from the Plaskett newbies.

The rich tones of the symphony rounded out Plaskett's unique melody, thanks to the noteworthy arrangements of Dave Christensen.

In typical fashion, Plaskett joked and adlibbed throughout; making the audience feel as though each song was written just for them and their concert experience.

Plaskett soloed on a few tunes, like when he brought out his famous $8 Casio keyboard out for Television Set.

The enduring home-town boy never ceases to amaze me. This show was full of talent, energy and reminded us all what we love most about music.

lkeilty@hfxnews.ca
- Daily News


“A songwriter’s holy trinity - Nova Scotia rocker Joel Plaskett reflects on touring, composing, and inviting listeners on a long ride.” - Globe & Mail


“What makes this better than his previous solo outings is the immediacy and intimacy that recording at home afforded him. It’s as if he spent most of his time honing the songs and then recorded them quickly and casually. The resulting minimalism and rawness complements the concept beautifully – and unpretentiously.”
- Now Magazine ****


“I’m not sure any Canadian artist has finally tuned their style as well as Joel Plaskett. His unique palette of influence and inspiration blends an appreciation of the history of music – fiddle, vinyl, country, R & B, the constant themes of being home and traveling the world – but avoids any of the pitfalls that plague artists that rely on the past by keeping his songs upbeat and energetic. He splices tradition with drum machines beats, crunching indie inspired riffs and clever word poetry, and as a result he’s able to expose fans to musicians long since forgotten without alienating people who fell in love with his previous efforts.” - herohill.com


Discography

Scrappy Happiness (2012) MapleMusic Recordings/New Scotland Records/ Universal Music Canada

EMERGENCYs, false alarms, shipwrecks, castaways, fragile creatures, special features, demons and demonstrations (2011) New Scotland Records/ TheIndieStore.com

Three (2009) MapleMusic Recordings/New Scotland Records/ Universal Music Canada

Ashtray Rock (2007) MapleMusic Recordings/ Universal Music Canada

Make A Little Noise DVD (2006) MapleMusic Recordings/ Universal Music Canada

La De Da (2005) MapleMusic Recordings/ Universal Music Canada

Truthfully, Truthfully (2003) MapleMusic Recordings/ Universal Music Canada

Down at the Kyber (2001) Re-released MapleMusic Recordings/ Universal Music Canada

In Need Of Medical Attention (1999) Re-released MapleMusic Recordings/ Universal Music Canada

Photos

Bio

"His marathon approach to the recording of Scrappy Happiness confirms it: Joel Plaskett is Canada's hardest working national treasure." - The Grid

Canada has produced some of the world's most enduring songwriters and Joel Plaskett is hailed as one of the best. With countless awards to his credit, thousands of tour dates, and numerous recording and producing projects under his belt, Plaskett remains one of the most innovative and prolific artists on the scene today.

The year 2012 started in high gear. Out of the doldrums of another long Canadian winter, Joel and The Emergency worked around the clock, sending weekly volleys to fight off the seasonal blues: a brand new song - recorded, mixed, mastered, and released - every single week for ten weeks, accompanied by snippets of video documenting the process in-studio. It was an epic undertaking, which came together in the physical release of his eighth recording, Scrappy Happiness. The album garnered outstanding reviews and Joel Plaskett and The Emergency have been touring steadily since its release.

Scrappy Happiness is the follow-up to Joel's hugely successful triple record,Three, which garnered overwhelming media response and caught the attention of international audiences. Where Three is a thoughtful solo record that offers up gems that range from pure pop to soul stirring folk, Scrappy Happiness is an epic melodic rock record powered by stellar songs and a sense of urgency.

In addition to his eight recordings, a DVD and a retrospective LP, Plaskett still has the creative energy to work on outside projects. He masterminded a reunion Thrush Hermit Tour and a box set, has produced recordings for Sarah Slean, Al Tuck, David Myles, Steve Poltz, and most recently, buzz act Mo Kenney. In 2010, Plaskett started a boutique record label (New Scotland Records) and has already produced and released a 12-part 7" vinyl singles series featuring artists ranging from Jeremy Fisher to Ana Egge.

Awards and Achievements

2012
Polaris Music Prize Long List (Scrappy Happiness)
CBC Radio 3 Bucky Award Nomination for The Golden Bucky ("Lightning Bolt")
Music Nova Scotia Award Winner SOCAN Songwriter of the Year ("You're Mine")
Music Nova Scotia Award Nomination Entertainer of the Year

2011
The Coast voted "Best Songwriter"

2010
Juno Award Winner Adult Alternative Album of the Year (Three)
Juno Award Nomination Songwriter of the Year ("Through & Through & Through")
ECMA Award Winner Male Solo Recording of the Year (Three)
ECMA Award Winner Entertainer of the Year
ECMA Award Winner SOCAN Songwriter of the Year ("Through & Through & Through")
ECMA Award Winner FACTOR Recording of the Year (Three)
ECMA Award Winner Single of the Year ("Through & Through & Through")
ECMA Award Winner Pop Recording of the Year (Three)
ECMA Award Nomination Single of the Year ("You Let Me Down")
ECMA Award Nomination Video of the Year ("Through & Through & Through")
CMW Indie Award Winner Favourite Solo Artist
CMW Indie Award Nomination Favourite Album (Three)
Finalist International Songwriting Contest "Through & Through & Through" Performance Category
The Coast voted "Best Local Solo Male"
The Coast voted "Best Vinyl" (Three)
The Coast voted "Best Local Album" (Three)

2009
Polaris Music Prize Nomination (Three)
Canadian Folk Music Award Winner Contemporary Album of the Year
Canadian Folk Music Award Winner Producer of the Year
Canadian Folk Music Award Nomination Solo Artist of the Year
Canadian Folk Music Award Nomination Pushing The Boundaries Recording of the Year (Three)
ECHO Songwriting Prize Nomination ("Through & Through & Through")
First Place Winner Great American Song Contest ("Face of the Earth")
ECMA Award Winner Entertainer of the Year
ECMA Award Nomination Single of the Year ("Face of the Earth")
Music Nova Scotia Award Winner Album of the Year (Three)
Music Nova Scotia Award Winner Male Solo Artist of the Year
Music Nova Scotia Award Winner Pop/Rock Recording of the Year (Three)
Music Nova Scotia Award Winner SOCAN Songwriter of the Year
Music Nova Scotia Award Nomination Entertainer of the Year
Music Nova Scotia Award Nomination Video of The Year ("Through & Through & Through")

2008
First Place Winner Billboard World Song Contest Pop Category ("Fashionable People")
First Place Winner Great American Song Contest ("Fashionable People")
COCA (Canadian Organization of Campus Activities) Mainstage Artist Award
ECMA Award Winner FACTOR Recording of the Year (Ashtray Rock)
ECMA Award Winner Group Recording of the Year
ECMA Award Winner Rock Recording of the Year
ECMA Award Winner SOCAN Songwriter of the Year
ECMA Award