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Emergency - Hermits on the loose
Emergency - Hermits on the loose
By Erin Conway-Smith
Driving across the Canadian shield can take a lot out of a fellow, but Joel Plaskett seems to know the lay of the landscape.
The singer, songwriter and guitarist for the aptly-named Joel Plaskett Emergency seems content, though a little road-weary, following a string of shows on the West Coast and towns along the Trans-Canada Highway.
Along with bandmates Dave Marsh and Tim Brennan, Plaskett has a few more gigs in Southern Ontario before heading home to Halifax.
This isn't the first time he has crossed the country on the Canadian rock circuit. If you don't recognize his name, you may have heard of his former group, the now-defunct college radio favourites, Thrush Hermit.
While Plaskett remains close with his long-time friends from Thrush Hermit, his solo work has resulted in two, critically-acclaimed solo albums.
|The brooding and personal In Need of Medical Attention, his first solo project, was released in 1999 and, last summer, Plaskett put forth the rocking, Led Zeppelin-esque Down at the Khyber.
Plaskett says this latest album balances his individual-minded approach to album-making with his need to play music with friends.
Gazette File Photo
"I really love playing with other people that's why when [Thrush Hermit] broke up, I formed another band. I need that kind of interaction, I need other people's input, but I like having that final vision of how it will all fit together."
Instead of having to consider how his songs will fit together on an album along side tracks from other band members, Plaskett says his solo work carries an overall, individual theme.
Still, he is quick to add that not all of his work has been conceptual.
Setting himself apart from the homegrown Canadian music scene, Plaskett has been making a name for himself overseas. Gigs in England last April and July brought Down at the Khyber critical-acclaim from some of the United Kingdom's top music magazines.
"They just treat me like a new artist there and I'm an import too, so you get the 'oh, they're from away' treatment, which is cool. Rather than 'oh, he used to play in Thrush Hermit, here he comes again,'" Plaskett jokes.
Those planning to attend one of Joel Plaskett Emergency's live shows should expect some dynamic rock 'n roll and a strong stage presence, although not to the extremes often associated with Thrush Hermit.
"While the band that I have together now is definitely energetic, [we] want to leave it to the songs and the lyrics," Plaskett explains.
"We've all gotten older. You can't be like that forever because I don't know if it's very becoming as you get older."
For tomorrow night's show at The Spoke, Plaskett says he'll play a few songs from In Need of Medical Attention, but the focus will mainly be on his most recent release, written to suit a three-piece band.
Plaskett wants to focus on his new band as a whole, rather than any of his previous incarnations. "A lot of people just know me as Joel Plaskett. I'm trying to add the 'Emergency' on to that," he says.
The Joel Plaskett Emergency play Thursday night at The Spoke. Admission is free.