Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Joel Plaskett returns to town with dad in tow

March 15, 2017 by Jayden Grieve, contributing writer

To pursue a career in music without the support of family would be a very unfortunate experience indeed. Joel Plaskett has been a consistent voice in the Canadian music scene since the mid ’90s; he’s played with a number of great musicians, but his most recent collaboration is with a particularly special one: his father, Bill. The two have recorded an album together, Solidarity, and will be stopping in Victoria on their current cross-country tour.

“He’s played on a couple of records of mine over the years. It’s always been him accompanying me playing my own music for the most part,” says Joel. “He taught me the basics of guitar when I was thirteen, so much of my guitar playing is stuff that I initially kind of got from him and then turned into my own.”

Joel Plasket (right) is playing in town with dad Bill ( left); the two recently released an album together (photo provided).

Joel says that it was time for his dad to get his name on an album. He even says that in some ways it may be serving as an introduction to his dad recording an album of his own.

Solidarity features strong influences from both musicians’ pasts, including the folkier songs Joel remembers his dad loving and the music that he himself played with his friends in his youth.

“My desire to play music came from wanting to play socially with my friends. My friend Rob got a guitar and I was like, ‘Dad, teach me some guitar so I can play music with these guys,’” says Joel. “Growing up, the music around the house was always social music. My dad was always playing with people.”

His parents’ love of music was a great influence on Joel and led him into the world of the professional songster. Joel formed his first band, Thrush Hermit, with friends at the age of 17.

“I was lucky because my folks were both really supportive of me playing music with Thrush Hermit,” he says. “I lived at home in the early days of that band. I’d go on tour and be gone a lot, but I still had the bedroom at home, and they were never like, ‘You gotta go get a real job.’ As a result, my dad and I get along really well, because I think me going out and living the musical dream was him living vicariously through me; now, it’s nice that he can be a part of the touring circuit.”

The idea of the parent and child making music together was a big influence on their album, which is largely about coming together to help each other.

“Your own personal narrative feeds your worldview, your political view, with the idea of solidarity being this broad stroke of what brings people together,” says Joel. “In the case of the album, it’s me and Dad making music together. The idea of getting together and doing something positive, and something with family, feels really good.”

It’s clear that Joel has a lot more projects in his future: maybe more with his father, and perhaps even one day with his son.

“My son is nine years old and he digs music; he dances around to it and sings Solidarity,” says Joel. “He likes being onstage; to dance to music is very much in his veins, and to rock out. Picking up an instrument hasn’t come up yet, but it didn’t for me until I was 13. I’m not gonna push him towards it, but if he wanted to play music it would be a blast. If he suddenly wanted to learn guitar, I could show him some things; we’ll wait and see.”

Joel and Bill Plaskett
7 pm Friday, March 31
$36, Alix Goolden Hall
atomiqueproductions.com

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