Bill & Joel Plaskett
Label: Self Released
Joel Plaskett needs no introduction to current Canadian music aficionados, he is an iconic figure on the East Coast music scene, indeed he is an established performer on the big stages across the Canadian provinces,The New Scotland Yard - his own recording studios in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - have become a fabled place to set down soundtracks for many established performers. It is this very location that he has chosen to use for an extraordinary recording with one of the biggest influences of his musical career, his father Bill. Joel has been in Nova Scotia his whole life, a real blue nose, and although he has toured extensively across Canada and the USA he has chosen to hang his hat in Halifax, or more specifically Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, it's where he seems to feel comfortable and in the recording, that seems to appear in the flavour of the songs and instrumentation.
Hailing originally from England and himself an established musician, Bill is a founding father of the renowned Lunenburg Folk Festival in Nova Scotia, it was in this environment that Joel was reared and at an early age began to hone his skills as a musician.
'Solidarity' brings together the influences of the sounds Joel was brought up with and encompasses those he has built his reputation on, it makes for an incredible mix of traditional and contemporary sounds and songwriting.
Starting off with the track 'Dragonfly' which has a very English folk feel to the intro reminiscent of the Traditional song 'She Moved Through The Fair' breaking into an almost Dylanesque vibe, to me an odd track to start out with as the second track to hit is the uplifting ' Next Blue Sky ' with hooky chorus and fabulous catchy instrumental breaks. but, it all begins to make sense the deeper we go.
We start to get a sense of where we are heading with Bill leading into track three, and we also start to get a glimpse of the influences that Joel seems to have pulled from in his solo recordings, Tracks where Bill leads are stripped back taking us to an era of the folk style of the 70's, each track Joel leads on has a much fuller, lusher sound heavier in production. Personally I like the contrast, I get a sense of the songs that must have been in the home of the Plaskett's many years ago and it's fascinating to see how that has evolved in Joel's rock tinged writings, I get the sense also that a great deal of thought must have gone into placing the tracks which in turn makes sense of the placing of track one.
The title track 'Solidarity' is another stand out, very hooky with a rock anthemic feel all mixed up with that folky instrumentation, genius !
This album on first listen intrigues, and upon second, third and more has one pulling out favourites and listening deeply for the next turn, even reminiscing with Bill & Joel as they conjure up images of sitting in the family living room singing ' Jim Jones ' .
Currently on tour together showcasing the recording it must be a very proud moment for both father and son to take to the stage, performing together as I guess they have always done, but this time giving their audiences a glimpse of the family Kitchen Parties in Nova Scotia.
A Superb album, an excellent introduction to where Joel's mind pulls his sound from, I've got mine on repeat, you need to get your copy and I guarantee you'll do the same.