The apple didn’t fall far from the tree with dad and son duo Bill & Joel Plaskett, and Joel has gone from recently touring with his dad in his band, to recording an album with his dad, called Solidarity. They’ll be promoting that album here in town at a show on April 29th, at the old Majestic Theatre in St. John’s (8pm).
Joel Plaskett’s career has been interesting to watch. He came up in Nova Scotia’s distinctive 90’s alt rock sound alongside bands like Sloan and Super Friendz, with his epic band Thrush Hermitt. Since going solo around the turn of the century, his solo career has become increasing softer. He started taking his dad along as touring mate, and now they’ve made an album together.
And what does dad think of the album? He says it’s “a touch of the traditional mixed in with the new, and a lot of the unexpected, arrived at through experimentation.” The album “welds Bill’s traditional folk leanings with Joel’s long and acclaimed history in the Canadian rock landscape.”
While Joel is perhaps better known, given the JUNOs and his massive and much adored catalogue of catchy music, the foundations of his talent began at home with his father Bill, who is an accomplished musician himself and co-founder of the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival.
“My father has certainly been one of my biggest musical influences,” says Joel. “I grew up around him playing guitars and his love of folk music, particularly music from the British Isles and Ireland is something I’ve inherited from him – artists like Bert Jansch, Richard Thompson, and Paul Brady. Conversely, I have introduced him to some of my favourite records by artists like Those Bastard Souls, Led Zeppelin, and Gillian Welch.”
Bill and Joel’s converging approaches to songwriting left lots of room for both to help shape each other’s songs. Bill says the pair spent a lot of time “figuring out what to play, and what not to play, listening critically to each other, and talking about the results. And then figuring out themes, motifs, and connections.”
The result of which is “a complementary but different melodic sense that creates a guitar weave that is unique to us,” says Joel. “Between the 6 string tenor and tiple guitars, the bouzoukis and mandolas, there are a lot of ringing strings on this album. Wouldn’t have it any other way.”
The title track, “Solidarity,” is a great summation of their collaboration, both lyrically and sonically. “I wanted a song Dad and I could sing together that connected our individual journeys and our personal politics,” says Joel. “The word ‘solidarity’ came to mind and didn’t leave.”
Tickets are $47 in advance and $52 day of show, and will be available this Friday, March 10 at 10 a.m., exclusively online at sonicconcerts.com. Additional fees may apply. Doors open at 7 p.m.