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The Park Avenue Sobriety Test included in CBC Music’s “50 best Canadian albums of 2015”!

By CBC Music

The Park Avenue Sobriety Test, a.k.a. “The P.A.S.T.,” wasn’t Joel Plaskett’s top-selling record, nor was it his most critically acclaimed, but if you want to hear Plaskett in a reflective comfort zone, listen to this album. The music rolls out easily, as if Plaskett has nothing left to prove, and really nothing to lose. He lets it all hang out here in a loose, fun, East Coast kitchen party of a record, surrounded by musical friends from the past 20 years. The title track is (almost) worth the price of admission alone, a classic Plaskett sing-along about a particularly treacherous corner in his adopted hometown of Dartmouth. Let us all raise a glass to “The P.A.S.T.”! — GL

Click here to check out the full list.


Joel Plaskett, Mike O’Neill and The Weather Station let their guard down at second annual Hayden-curated benefit show

By Joshua Kloke, NOW Toronto

HaydenHAYDEN, JOEL PLASKETT, THE WEATHER STATION and CHOIR! CHOIR! CHOIR! as part of DREAM SERENADE at Massey Hall, Saturday, October 17. Rating: NNNNN

All too often there is a disconnect when touring musicians stop in Toronto. It is just another city on the schedule, a place to ply their trade and sell some merch for a few hours. The next day, those same musicians lather, rinse and repeat the night’s events in a different city.

Saturday night was different. The second annual Dream Serenade was referred to as a “night out” for fans, but given the intimate nature of the performances it felt more like a night in with friends: both local and out-of-town musicians let their guard down for a special, unforgettable evening. Read More

Rick Keene Music Scene: Joel Plaskett in Montreal

Once upon a time – a music concert was all about fun …

By Rick Keene, Rick Keene Music Scene


The bands got on a stage, played their guitar strings off and parlayed unparalleled enthusiasm into a crowd that expected to be entertained.

Due to many factors including big business – many times, this experience is a thing of the past. Thank goodness Nova Scotia – born Joel Plaskett lives in the past …

Plaskett and his ’emergency’ band set the Corona Theater on fire last Thursday evening in Montreal. The band is nearing the end of their Canada-wide tour and Plaskett et al ( including Socan songwriter of the year award winner in 2013 Mo Kenney), showed no signs of being tired.

Read More

Winnipeg Free Press Reviews The Park Avenue Sobriety Test

image002Nova Scotia’s favourite son Joel Plaskett has spent his career developing a style of pop music that is distinctively Canadian. From his early days with alt-rockers Thrush Hermit through his work with his band the Emergency, the winner of multiple music awards continues to please his legion of fans.

The P.A.S.T is an album that covers all the Plaskett musical bases, and if you haven’t been tuned in to this guy, this could be considered akin to a compilation of what he really does best.

The first half of the album finds the artist in an energetic, Canuck-pop mode — his ability to write sensible, interesting lyrics buoyed by the kind of hooks that pinch perfectly are testament to his years of writing experience. The next three tracks — Captains of Industry, For Your Consideration and Hard Times — are softer sonic-brush strokes, again buoyed by Plaskett’s nifty wordplay. The album closes with a couple more cheery charmers that, if they don’t lift your mood, will at least have you adoring the first-rate band. Extra credit for the crystal-clear album production.

Definitely watch for this one to be on more than a few year-end best-of lists.

4 stars

DOWNLOAD: On a Dime, The Last Phone Booth

by Jeff Monk, Winnipeg Free Press reviews JOEL PLASKETT & THE PARK AVENUE SOBRIETY TEST

Le chanteur canadien nous revient avec un nouvel album sur lequel il cherche plus que jamais sa place dans la société. Accompagné de talentueux musiciens, Plaskett a lui-même réalisé ce neuvième album dans son studio de Dartmouth en Nouvelle-Écosse. On y retrouve plusieurs collaborateurs dont Mo Kenney, Dave Marsh, Chris Pennell, Tim Brennan, Ian McGettigan et J.P. Cormier. Plaskett mélange allègrement les styles avec des éléments de folk, de country, de rock et de pop. L’une des chansons les plus efficaces du disque est certainement l’excellente « On a Dime », au refrain puissant totalement inoubliable. Plusieurs autres refrains possèdent par ailleurs cette puissance mélodique tout simplement captivante. Voici donc un très bon album de la part de ce troubadour canadien.



Le Droit: Le rockeur néoécossais Joel Plaskett s’apprête à percuter le mur de la quarantaine.

Ce n’est pas un hasard si le titre de son neuvième album, Joel Plaskett & the Park Avenue Sobriety Test, cache l’acronyme P.A.S.T. Il s’exhale de cet album bilan un parfum de nostalgie, à mesure que Plaskett (ou un alter ego anonyme) fait le point sur sa vie et égrène les questions existentielles liées à l’approche de ce cap. Mais pas de spleen, ici. Le ton est serein, confiant. Il se dégage même de l’ensemble une sympathique vitalité.

L’exercice est aussi musical. Sorte de diaporama folk-rock, P.A.S.T. offre un agréable tour d’horizon d’une carrière déjà bien remplie. Plaskett y distille, en mots ou en accords, les clins d’oeil à ses influences (Petty, Knopfler, Led Zep, etc.).

Son groupe, The Emergency, est devenu ici Emergency-Plus, Plaskett ayant rapatrié à son studio de Dartmouth beaucoup de vieux complices – amis de l’époque Thrush Hermit, anciens musiciens d’Emergency, et plusieurs autres – pour célébrer dans la joie et en famille.

Auteur: Yves Bergeras, Le Droit

Rick Keene Music Scene: Take ‘The Park Avenue Sobriety Test’ with Joel Plaskett

The East Coast music scene is alive and well.


Thanks in part to Nova Scotia native Joel Plaskett. His latest offering; The Park Avenue Sobriety Test – is an attempt at capturing that ‘live on the floor’ feeling so prominent in music today.

A feel good record with SOCAN Songwriter of the Year WINNER Mo Kenney adding her own backing vocals. An element of the disc which really brings it alive.

Please listen as Joel explains many things – including his roots in Folk music.


by Rick Keene, Rick Keene Music Scene



Joel Plaskett lance cette semaine The Park Avenue Sobriety Test, son neuvième album studio. Voilà maintenant une quinzaine d’années que l’Haligonien sert de porte-parole à la Nouvelle-Écosse en livrant les hymnes fédérateurs régionaux les uns après les autres. C’est l’occasion idéale pour dresser une anthologie de 12 titres, retraçant certaines des meilleures offrandes de Plaskett en solo ou à l’intérieur de projets connexes.

Piste 1: The Day We Hit the Coast (1999)

Avant de livrer des chansons folk en solo ou de mener son power trio Joel Plaskett Emergency, l’auteur-compositeur-interprète officiait à titre de chanteur du groupe Thrush Hermit. Issu du renouveau rock des années 1990 à Halifax, le quatuor a lancé deux albums à la fin de la décennie, dont Clayton Park. En plus d’être un classique intemporel, le disque continue d’influencer la scène régionale avec son mélange d’hameçons rétro et ses intentions indé.

Piste 2: Five Easy Pieces (2000)

La présence de Neuseiland au sein du paysage musical haligonien a quelque chose de mythique. S’il est vrai que ce projet avant-gardiste servait de prétexte à diverses expérimentations musicales, le groupe est connu à titre de super band local réunissant des membres de Superfriendz et Trush Hermit, dont Plaskett derrière une batterie. La discographie de Neuseiland est disponible en téléchargement par contribution volontaire sur Bandcamp.

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CBC’s East Coast Music: Plaskett looks back, looks ahead on new album

It hasn’t been too long in today’s music world since Joel Plaskett put out an album, only three years on from Scrappy Happiness, but that seems like an eternity in Plaskett-years. He’s been at it since 1994 with his first group, Thrush Hermit, and the very longest he’s gone without a release is two years in all that time. That includes Thrush albums, solo albums, Joel Plaskett Emergency albums, a DVD with a CD of brand-new songs, a rare tracks compilation, a box set retrospective of Thrush Hermit, and the odd non-album 45 RPM vinyl single as well. So yes, you’d think he’d retired or something.

We certainly weren’t missing him on stage, as he has done a bunch of shows around the province in that time. But big things have been happening for him. He has had his own recording studio for awhile, but recently he moved to a new, bigger spot in downtown Dartmouth, all tricked out with some vintage recording gear and instruments. There he’s not only made his own music, he’s been producing for other artists such as Mo Kenney, Old Man Luedecke, and Sean McCann, ex of Great Big Sea. Another big part of his life has been his son, so he’s now a family man, and that changes everything of course.

None of this really delayed anything, in fact, it provided him with the whole theme of his new album, which is called Joel Plaskett and the Park Avenue Sobriety Test. We’ll get to that odd name in a second, but the concept of the album revolves around where Plaskett is in life right now. He’s 39, a newish father, a business person in his home town with employees and an office, and he’s been looking out at what he sees. Part of it is frustration; he’s upset at the so-called one per cent, how wealth, or the lack of it is hurting others. Part is hurt; he had some friends get sick, a couple even died. Part of it is the future; what’s it all about, what will his son face? The rest of it though, is positive, motivational even; get up, get going, find a way to get past the problems and be good to those around you.

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Hello! Canada’s Best New Music of the Week includes The P.A.S.T.

“The Nova Scotia alt-rocker is a gifted songsmith with a knack for indelible melody and ingenious rhyme. His latest, which runs the gamut from acoustic gems to hard-edged keepers with ex-members of his bands Thrust Hermit and the Emergency, shows off both sides of his talent.”

Nicholas Jennings, Hello! Canada