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JP & the Emergency in Stephenville

Though he has played in venues all over Canada in the past 20 years, East Coast rocker Joel Plaskett said one of the tours he’s most excited about is his tour of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Plaskett and his band the Emergency, along with special guest Sean McCann, are hitting the Rock for a province-wide Arts and Culture Centre tour.

The tour, which will take place from Nov. 2 to 13, includes dates in St. John’s, Labrador City, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Bonavista, Gander, Grand Falls-Windsor, Corner Brook, Stephenville and Clarenville.

Mr. Plaskett told TC Media he’s played in St. John’s more than a few times, as well as Marystown and Corner Brook once each.

“Of all the tours I’ve had on the calendar, this tour of Newfoundland (and Labrador) is the one I think I’m most excited about,” said Mr. Plaskett. “It’s one of the best places to play as far as I’m concerned … we’ve had some really, really fun shows there.”

Mr. Plaskett said he’s not sure what to expect in terms of crowd turnouts, but he’s not concerned about numbers.

“I know we’re not a household name, but to me it doesn’t matter how many people are there. If we were in someone’s living room in Grand Falls-Windsor playing, I’d still be enjoying myself,” he said. “(This tour) is about bringing the music to some new towns, experiencing some new things and enjoying it, and maybe making some new fans.”

Sean McCann of Great Big Sea fame will be a special guest touring with Joel Plaskett and the Emergency. After two decades with Great Big Sea, Mr. McCann decided to turn his focus on the songs that fill his own head and face the spotlight alone. It has been 18 years since he last toured the island.

Joining Mr. Plaskett and band mates Dave Marsh and Chris Pennell as they tour Newfoundland and Labrador will be St. John’s based filming company and recent Music NL award recipient Heavy Weather, to film the band along the way.

“We’ve been talking with the Heavy Weather guys … and we were talking about them shadowing us on this tour and filming us,” said Mr. Plaskett.

Mr. Plaskett said he’s not sure what they’ll do with the footage ­– he said a documentary is a possibility, as well as a daily video blog of the tour.

“I don’t really have a huge agenda as far as what this would be used for,” he said. “I still want to have that footage so I can watch it in 20 years and go, ‘Yeah that’s me in Newfoundland in all these places for the first time.’ I just thought it would be really cool to document it.”

The tour comes on the heels of Mr. Plaskett’s latest album, “Scrappy Happiness,” which was released this past spring.

He said while songs from the new record will be a big part of the tour, he and his band constantly go back through their catalog to draw on older songs for their concerts.

“The fun thing is, as the catalog grows, there’s lots to choose from.”

When asked what his favourite song from the new record was, Mr. Plaskett didn’t have to pause for thought.

“There’s a song called ‘Lightening Bolt,’ which is the most epic song and it’s the first song on the new record,” he said. “That song on a lyrical and performance level is close to my heart, and the band plays great on it – it’s really fun to play live.”

The song echoes the sentiments he tried to put into his new record, Mr. Plaskett said. Scrappy Happiness is all about living in the moment, and letting go of stress and worry, he said.

He said the album was created and released in an ‘in the moment’ fashion as well, he and his band composed one song per week and released the songs as they were recorded.

“It’s really easy to get worried about stuff and over think things,” he said. “(This album) is about trying to enjoy the moment, and I’m really trying to live by that philosophy this year. I’m taking it a day or week at a time … and trying to enjoy the ride.”

by Andrea Gunn, The Georgian