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Pop Montreal Review

Plenty of singers fill the empty spaces in concert with get-drunk-and-party brain leakage. Then there’s Joel Plaskett, whose introductory greeting to both his audience and his venue — “Let’s have a soda, shall we?” — said much about him and his Thursday performance. Dryly humorous, unpretentious and very welcoming, the Club Soda set offered reminder after reminder of the Nova Scotian’s undervalued master craftsmanship, and his under-recognized elasticity as a writer and re-interpreter of his own material.

A spirited country-rock arrangement of Absentminded Melody led to When I Have My Vision’s speak-sing barroom boogie, shortly before the maritime pop of Sailors Eyes. There was nothing showy about any of this, or about his gently frayed quartet. Which isn’t to say Plaskett lacked showmanship — the stream-of-poetry ode to his cancer-survivor cat White Fang was driven by an undeniable gusto — but on stage, he’s about the songs. As he should be: The stellar representations from this year’s Three justified the triple-disc opus’s girth. “Too many (songs), some might say,” Plaskett cracked, “but that’s their problem, not mine.” And really, can too many Joel Plaskett songs be anybody’s problem?

–Â Jordan Zivitz