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April 29th St. John's, NL
Majestic Theatre An Evening with Bill & Joel Plaskett
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May 3rd Lindsay, ON
The Academy Theatre Bill & Joel Plaskett "Solidarity Tour"
With special guest Mayhemingways
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May 4th Paris, ON
Dominion Telegraph Event Centre (Sold Out Show) Bill & Joel Plaskett "Solidarity Tour"
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May 5th Bayfield, ON
Old Town Hall Bill & Joel Plaskett "Solidarity Tour"
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Jeff Burger reviews Solidarity in his Five Noteworthy New Releases for No Depression

By Jeff Burger, No Depression

Bill and Joel Plaskett, Solidarity. This adventurous, well-produced father-and-son collaboration is loaded with lilting folk and folk/rock. The lyrics, which incorporate clever wordplay and memorable lines, range from the introspective to the political. “The Next Blue Sky” will have you up and dancing or at least tapping your foot, while the melancholic “The New California” will paint pictures in your head. The album manages to be as cohesive as it is diverse. It’s also consistently impressive.

The Globe and Mail: A Plaskett family affair

On the new album Solidarity, Joel Plaskett leans into his folk roots while his dad Bill brings out the songwriter’s political side

Musicians Joel Plaskett, right, and his father Bill pose in Plaskett’s recording studio The New Scotland Yard in Halifax on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. DARREN CALABRESE/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Musicians Joel Plaskett, right, and his father Bill pose in Plaskett’s recording studio The New Scotland Yard in Halifax on Tuesday, January 17, 2017.

By Josh O’Kane, The Globe and Mail

Loitering in the back room of vintage music-gear purveyor Paul’s Boutique, Bill Plaskett gets a compliment from its namesake owner: “You know, you look like Roger Waters.”

Bill looks back in silence for just a second. Rock trivia is not his forte. His son, Joel Plaskett, jumps to the rescue. “You know him? Pink Floyd.”

“Oh, Pink Floyd, yeah,” Bill says, smiling slyly. These days, the British folk-revival maven is learning a lot from his rock-aficionado son. Three decades after Bill taught Joel the guitar, helping launch him into the Cancon canon, they’re releasing an album together. And as much as it’s a chance to repay Bill for a life of lessons learned, Joel’s still learning, too.

Out Feb. 17, Solidarity is Joel’s ninth proper album since the 1999 breakup of his alt-rock band Thrush Hermit. It’s also the most explicit folk foray of the Halifax musician’s career – built in his co-headlining father’s image, soaked in traditional sounds from both shores of the Atlantic.

Joel’s long toyed with singer-songwriter styles, but this is different. Fiddles, whistles and banjos pop up as Bill finger-picks and Joel strums six-string and tenor guitars. The pair stickhandle traditionals: Bill plays Jim Jones bare-bones, while they trade verses and harmonies on We Have Fed You All for a Thousand Years. Joel, meanwhile, dolls up new songs with trad flourishes. Blank Cheque rollicks like a kitchen-party jam, and the Yellowknife ballad The New California gets a phalanx of whistles.

Joel Plaskett in the studio in 2012. INGRAM BARSS

Joel Plaskett in the studio in 2012. INGRAM BARSS

And then there are Bill’s songs, stretching back decades.
The longer Joel’s career stretches on, the more his music returns to his childhood. Sitting on a bench across the street from the Toronto music shop, Bill and Joel discuss recording the album’s final song, On Down the River – a song that had been brewing in Bill for decades. It’s a simple, quick, stripped-down take with just one microphone, a would-be demo done in the lobby of Joel’s Dartmouth studio.

The approach was deliberate. “I tried to make it sound like the cassette of all his songs that I heard when I was a kid,” Joel says.

Joel’s journey from nineties alternative impressionist to burgeoning folk scholar begins with his father. Bill, now 72, grew up working-class in east London, and fell quickly into finger-picking as traditional jazz and skiffle took him headfirst into the British folk revival.

He obsessively followed the careers of revival leaders such as Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and Davey Graham as he travelled to northern England, then Canada, settling in the mid-seventies near Lunenburg, N.S., with Sharon MacDonald, Joel’s mother.

Sharon, a dancer, flooded the home with experimental, jazz and pop music. But Bill’s folk obsession grew after they settled on Nova Scotia’s South Shore. Within a decade of Joel’s birth in 1975, Bill established a coffee house, started his own trad bands and helped found the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, leading to many late-night after-parties at the Plaskett-MacDonald home.

The young Joel, though – his path meandered. Obsessions with Chuck Berry and Billy Joel turned to eighties skate music and, eventually, Led Zeppelin. Bill tried in vain to teach Joel guitar; he tried drums and saxophone instead. It was only when the family moved to Halifax in 1987, and Joel met the friends that would form Thrush Hermit, that he accepted guitar lessons.[READ MORE]

CBC’s q: Bill and Joel Plaskett join forces on new album Solidarity

By CBC’s q – Produced by Mitch Pollock

Joel Plaskett performing live at the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Cathy Irving/CBC)

Joel Plaskett performing live at the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Cathy Irving/CBC)

While Joel Plaskett has made a name for himself as one of Canada’s great songwriters, his dad Bill is an accomplished musician in his own right.

Growing up, Joel heard his dad playing tunes at home, took that inspiration and ran with it. “In a child’s desire for attention from his father, he’d come up and put his hands on my strings,” Bill recalls, of Joel’s interest in his guitar playing. “So I made him a cutout guitar with a string that went around his neck so while I played, he could play too.”

Bill and Joel Plaskett chatting with host Tom Power in the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Cathy Irving/CBC)

Bill and Joel Plaskett chatting with host Tom Power in the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Cathy Irving/CBC)

In all those years, Joel has never collaborated with his dad — until now. They’ve come together on a new album called, fittingly enough, Solidarity (out Feb. 17). [READ MORE]

Noisey – Dad Rock: Why Joel Plaskett Made a New Record With His Pops

By Cam Lindsay, Noisey


We spoke to the father-and-son duo about connecting and staying young through music.

Joel Plaskett hasn’t aged a bit. His voice hasn’t lost any of its youthful lilt since I first interviewed him back in 1995, when we were both teenagers. He’s still as rhapsodic and talkative as he was when he was touring Smart Bomb with his old band Thrush Hermit. And even though there are a few greys poking out of his hair, he even looks as though time has not yet caught up with him over all these years.

Of course, Joel Plaskett has in fact aged. Duh. And the way that it’s most obvious is the extensive set of recordings he has amassed. Plaskett has proven himself to be one of Canada’s most reliable songwriters, both in quality and frequency. In 1999 alone, he released Thrush Hermit’s swan song, Clayton Park, the debut album by Neuseiland, his side-project with Super Friendz members Charles Austin and Drew Yamada, and his debut solo album, In Need Of Medical Attention. Subsequently, he has steadily released at least one album of his own every other year, not to mention produced recordings by Two Hours Traffic, Al Tuck, Sarah Slean, Old Man Luedecke, Mo Kenney and Shotgun Jimmie, while running his own label, New Scotland Records. Along the way, he has also rounded up a handful of Juno nominations (including a win in 2010 for Adult Alternative Album of the Year) and a couple of Polaris Music Prize shortlists.

For his latest project, Plaskett has come full circle and teamed up with the man who first introduced him to music: his dad, Bill. The idea to collaborate has been a long time coming. Joel and Bill have been performing together on a regular basis over the last decade and even worked on songs together in the studio. It took a while but they finally realized the inevitable: they should actually sit down and make a record together. Their album, Solidarity, marks the debut album for Bill, who has long made home recordings of folk songs he’s written both before and after he immigrated to Canada from the UK. For Joel, it was not only an opportunity to work with his biggest musical hero, but also explore another side of his roots through the folk music he grew up with. Noisey got both Joel and Bill Plaskett on the phone to talk about their familial collaboration.

Noisey: So whose idea was this record?
Joel Plaskett: I don’t know, it might have been somebody else’s.
Bill Plaskett: Occasionally when we play a show someone will say, “You should record an album together.” That’s one impetus.
Joel: It’s always been in the band of my mind too. Dad played on Three and guested on a few other records, a song or two here and there over the years. And we’ve been doing shows together periodically, back to about 2005. After La De Da came out we did a short tour in Southern Ontario; that was the first time we did some acoustic stuff together. So there is a history of it there, but all of the material was mostly my stuff. And it felt like if we were going to continue to play together it would be nice to showcase what Dad does as well and the shared influences that we have and make a record that was more collaborative. Initially the idea was for my dad to make a record and I would just produce it or play on it. But it turned more into a record that really is the two of us. It’s kind of a folk rock record that merges our two worlds and brings out the folkier side of what I do, but still has some production from my pop and rock world. It was really about us continuing to play shows together and giving my dad a bigger role. He’s been writing songs for years, and he had a cassette of them, from which we picked a few to put on this record.

Who do you think was more excited about making the record?
Bill: Well, I’m pretty excited about it! For me it’s a pretty invigorating thing. The experience of being in the studio and the experience of being involved with the mixing. And now we’re involved with the process of translating it for a live performance.
Joel: I was excited to make it too. Part of the joy for me was that Dad was super excited about it. This felt like a different step where I could indulge my folkier side. My dad brings a deep-seated knowledge of the British folk genre, and a lot of my love for guitar playing comes from learning from him and his influences, which eventually became my influences. Whether that was Richard Thompson or Jimmy Page, Bert Jansch was a hero, and that is all stuff I’ve listened to. It was fun to push it that way. [READ MORE]

Bob Mersereau Reviews Solidarity for Top 100 Canadian Singles

By Bob Mersereau, Top 100 Canadian Singles

I recall sitting on a prize jury a few years back, and one of the company disparagingly referred to Joel Plaskett’s music as “dad rock”. That meant the kind of rock your dad would listen to, if you were in your 30’s I guess, and hipper than that, music from the 60’s-70’s era. I guess this would make him apoplectic, as Plaskett has made his latest with his actual dad.

Fans will be familiar with the senior Plaskett, Bill, as he’s recorded on previous works by his son such as Three, and done the occasional tour with him. A folk performer and songwriter himself, he’s probably been as big an influence as any on his son’s life, natch, but here we find out it’s more than just choice of profession. Bill’s a died-in-the-wool folksinger, where the words mean something, whether personal or for the people. Some of that is political for sure, and Plaskett the younger certainly has chosen to drive on the left side of that road. That’s reflected here in the traditional We Have Fed You All For 1000 Years, and Joel’s Blank Cheque, partially a reaction to the U.S. election campaign.[READ MORE]

Exclaim! reviews Solidarity

By Kyle Mullin, Exclaim!

Solidarity, the new collaborative LP between Joel Plaskett (arguably the East Coast’s biggest-ever indie star) and his father Bill (who has a formidable legacy in his own right as the cofounder of Nova Scotia’s Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival), is a joyous family affair and a must own release for fans of both artists’ genres. By turns playful and melancholy, it merges Celtic folk with indie rock, and showcases the beautifully shared vision between a father and his son.

Both Plasketts’ passion and prowess are evident throughout, but one of the album’s most compelling aspects is how it shows the sharp contrasts in their approaches. The Joel-helmed “Up in the Air,” for instance, boasts immersive, full-bodied production, and couldn’t sound more different than Bill’s skeletal acoustic playing on “Jim Jones.” [READ MORE]

Family ‘Solidarity:’ Joel Plaskett melds father’s music with his own on new album

After years of floating the idea, the Nova Scotia father-son duo has collaborated on an album for the first time.

By Aly Thomson, The Canadian Press

Joel Plaskett, Bill Plaskett
Musicians Joel Plaskett, right, and his father Bill pose in Plaskett’s recording studio The New Scotland Yard in Halifax on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. [Photo: Darren Calabrese, The Canadian Press]

HALIFAX — More than 30 years ago in the picturesque fishing town of Lunenburg, N.S., a young Joel Plaskett would sift through his father’s record collection and watch him play guitar with a keen eye.
Bill Plaskett — a British immigrant who plucked strings at Maritime kitchen parties and coffee houses in the 1990s — had an early hand in kindling his son’s musical curiosities, a calling that would thrust him through an enduring career as a celebrated Nova Scotia artist.

After years of floating the idea, the father-son duo have collaborated on an album for the first time —”Solidarity”— a record that’s firmly rooted in Bill’s English folk influences, but still upholds Joel’s signature rock swagger.

“I think the clock was ticking for us to make a record together,” said the younger Plaskett, sitting leg-over-leg on a tufted brown leather sofa in his Dartmouth, N.S., recording studio.
“It was fun to try and make the album work where it sort of told our individual stories in small fragments, and our collective stories together. That to me was the fun of it and also the challenge. It was not as easy as I anticipated it to be.”

The album’s track list is a patchwork of their respective unused songwriting material. But within the vast repertoire is a clear through-line: a vocal and instrumental dance between two generations of Plasketts.

Some of the songs date back decades.

“I found these tapes of dad singing all these original songs and as a teenager I would listen to them,” said Joel, his shoulder-length brown hair tucked behind his ears.
“So I went back to a few of those tapes and would say, ‘Hey, what about this one,’ or ‘Why don’t we sand the edges off that one’.”

The 11-track album opens with the gripping “Dragonfly” — a definite merging of the two Plaskett’s distinct styles.

The song builds from a folk melody with Celtic flair and gritty vocals to a jarring breakdown reminiscent of Joel’s past catalogue. A fiddle and electric guitar take turns being the instrumental interlude’s vanguard.

Joel Plaskett, Bill Plaskett
Musicians Joel Plaskett, right, and his father Bill play music from their new record in Plaskett’s recording studio The New Scotland Yard in Halifax on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. [Photo: Darren Calabrese, The Canadian Press]

The inspiration for the tune came from a paranormal experience. After several unexplainable occurrences at his studio, Joel hired a medium to “clear a ghost out of the place.”

“The day after that, we found a dragonfly on the floor of the lobby in the studio,” said Joel, whose studio New Scotland Yard also houses a storefront with a barber shop, record store and cafe all sharing the space.

“I looked up dragonflies, and in certain cultures, they kind of represent spirits that have moved on… and of course it can all be this long coincidence, but I think I’m just starting to believe much more and I’m feeling it more in my heart, the interconnectiveness of everything.”

On the lively “On Down The River,” Bill sings solo about his childhood in England, sitting on the banks of the River Thames and fantasizing about one day leaving.

“I grew up in a housing estate, with all the houses the same, and I kind of escaped from that by going down to the industrial banks of the Thames, with old rusty freighters leaving the port,” said the older Plaskett in a baritone English accent, clasping a coffee mug next to his son on the couch.

“And so it was the notion of imagining yourself going away, which I eventually did.”

The album was recorded last year during a time Joel found to be “really taxing emotionally with what has been going on in the world,” namely the American election.

“That was sort of there in the background as this pressure, and without sounding too corny, the idea of playing music with your family and the idea of coming together…” he said, trailing off and looking towards his father.

“Right,” Bill affirms, nodding.

Although not overt, Joel said there are political undertones on “Solidarity.” But he hopes the music can exist outside of the issues that divide society and serve as a peacemaker.

“The audience may disagree on a ton of things out there in the world, but when they come together liking music, or just being in the room with music, that kind of can just go away for awhile,” said Joel, who has advocated for local causes, including the fight to save a historic arts centre in downtown Halifax.

“For me, that’s what I want it to do for me this year, to still remain engaged in what I care about and to see if we can be involved in making the world a better place… but having it start on a family level and bringing that into a larger world with friends and family and audience and trying to do something that feels good, even if you’re angry.”[READ MORE]

Exclaim!: Bill & Joel Plaskett ‘Solidarity’ (album stream)

By Sarah Murphy, Exclaim!


Click here to stream Solidarity.

Maritime mainstay Joel Plaskett has enlisted some familial help for his latest record, collaborating with his father Bill on a new LP called Solidarity. Before it arrives next week, Exclaim! is giving you a proper introduction to the Plaskett clan with an advanced stream of the upcoming record in its entirety.

The album hears the pair exchanging their musical influences and ideas, experimenting with a mix of both traditional and unexpected sounds. “Dragonfly” opens the set of songs on a minimalist note, but eventually reaches a lush, bluesy climax that sets the tone for the previously shared folk-rock ode to the East Coast (and leaving it to chase westward dreams), “The Next Blue Sky.” [READ MORE]

Solidarity is officially out on February 17 through Pheromone Recordings.

Tour dates:
Click here for purchase links.

03/15 Truro, NS – Marigold Cultural Centre
03/17 Montreal, QC – L’Astral
03/18 Ottawa, ON – National Arts Centre
03/22 Winnipeg, MB – West End Cultural Centre
03/23 Regina, SK – WA WA Shire Centre
03/24 Saskatoon, SK – Broadway Theatre
03/29 Kelowna, BC – Mary Irwin Theatre
03/30 Nanaimo, BC – The Queens
03/31 Victoria, BC – Alix Goolden Performance Hall
04/01 Vancouver, BC – Vogue Theatre
04/05 Waterloo, ON – Starlight
04/06 Waterloo, ON – Starlight
04/07 Hamilton, ON – The Studio at Hamilton Place
04/08 Toronto, ON – Massey Hall
04/12 London, ON – Aeolian Hall
04/13 London, ON – Aeolian Hall
04/14 Stratford, ON – Avondale United Church
04/20 Halifax, NS – Rebecca Cohn Auditorium
04/22 Port Hawkesbury, NS – Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre
05/04 Paris, ON – Dominion Telegraph
05/05 Bayfield, ON – Old Town Hall

Toronto Star: Joel Plaskett joins forces with father on new ‘folkie’ album

Juno-winner Joel Plaskett teamed up with his 71-year-old dad to make Solidarity.

By Nick Patch, The Toronto Star

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 11.41.10 AMJoel Plaskett, left, and his dad, Bill Plaskett, teamed up for their Solidarity album and will be performing at Massey Hall in April. (J.P. MOCZULSKI / FOR THE TORONTO STAR)

When Bill Plaskett first moved his family from Halifax to Lunenburg in the 1990s, it took only a short while — social folkie that he was — before he stitched together a network in the local folk scene and started drinking in the coffee house circuit.

It was on one of those evenings, at Dalhousie University’s Grad House café, that Plaskett remembers sharing the stage with his then-14-year-old son, Joel.

“We did a couple instrumental numbers,” Bill recalled, remembering their performance of Bert Jansch’s “Angie.”

“That was one of the memories I have and Joel remembers it, too. That was when we did our first public performance together and in a folkie kind of vein.”

Only a few years later and before Joel’s teenage years were through with him, the younger Plaskett had already graduated from intimate coffee houses to become the co-frontman of the promising rock outfit Thrush Hermit. Bill was a persistent presence then, too, particularly since Joel was too young for unaccompanied admittance into the clubs Thrush was rocking.

Bill remained a proud observer and occasional collaborator over the ensuing decades as Joel built a Juno Award-winning career as a prolific songwriter and perceptive producer.

Only now, however, have father and son teamed up as equal partners in new music, with their contemplative new record Solidarity. And once again, it’s in that “folkie kind of vein.”

The winsome 11-track collection, which features both Plasketts’ voices and songwriting, was recorded in a month — a surprisingly intense month, both players attest — but its roots stretch back much farther.

Bill penned “No Sight Compares” in the ’70s when the beauty of nature seemed to offer hope amid a troubled relationship. The 71-year-old’s “On Down the River” recalls his upbringing in postwar London, when he would watch from the bank of the Thames as boats chugged in and out, while the album’s poignant title track finds the elder Plaskett reflecting on working in New Orleans and journeying around the United States in 1966 before eventually moving to Canada and starting a family.

Of course, Joel’s musical education began with his dad. When Joel, now 41, was really little, he would listen as Bill rehearsed with his band, Starboard Side, or hosted boisterous kitchen jams. By recording with his father, Joel not only tuned in to a family connection, he also re-engaged his interest in folk music.

“I’ve been influenced by both his music but also his musical tastes and the way he plays guitar,” Joel said. “I felt like if we made a record together, where he was singing some songs and I was singing some songs, it would push me toward that part of my musical heritage.

“It was fun to make. Challenging, actually — more challenging than I thought.” [READ MORE]

Father-son team Joel and Bill Plaskett join forces through eras and music in the NP Sessions studio

By The National Post

JUNO Award-winning songwriter Joel Plaskett and his father Bill’s latest album Solidarity is the product of influence from many different eras, sources, and stages of life.

Bill wrote “No Sight Compares” in the early 1970s about a troubled relationship and signs from nature that everything would work out fine, while Joel’s “The New California” was written this past summer at a hotel in Yellowknife where “the Alpine trees and perpetual sunlight on the Great Slave Lake made me think of some magical part of California I dreamt up.” [READ MORE]

#NPSessions #NPMusic