Joel Plaskett

The New Joys

The New Joys

Joel Plaskett’s songwriting has always been as much about words as it is music. With much attention to tones, timbres, rhymes & rhythms, Plaskett’s downtown Dartmouth dialect has provided the phonetic glue to make his unshakeable melodies stick to the synapses. Over more than three decades in the biz, Plaskett’s work has included epic romance via concept album (2007’s Ashtray Rock), a months-long songwriting challenge (2012’s Scrappy Happiness), and sprawling numbers games exploring love, loss and existential investigations (2009’s Three & 2020’s 44).

Given he’s spent a lifetime setting words to music, it’s maybe a surprise—but maybe not—that Plaskett’s first recorded spoken-word poem, The New Joys, is only arriving this year. Recorded live on stage at The Carleton in Halifax, and backed by the responsive, improvisational keyboard playing of Bill Stevenson, the final track was lovingly produced with extra vocal & guitar flourishes added on 4 track cassette tape at Plaskett’s Fang Recording studio.

The New Joys continues Joel’s exploration of being, time, and memory that has been front of mind since he embarked on 44; a pursuit that finds him uncovering the interrelatedness of things everywhere amidst an ever faster spinning world in need of repair.

The New Joys

Blind Spots
Craned my neck, looked back
Saw dots connecting broken track

Hearts down the alley
Start rallying real love
Shall we show it?
We reaped it, we ripped it
So now we sew it

Eyes were open but can’t be sure
Exactly what I was looking for other than myself
Still some days, I hate to say
I just have eyes to look away

Words upon words, hooks into hooks
Can’t undo, can’t run through, can’t uncook the books
What’s old where nothing’s new?
So we hold our breath
Hit the wall
Half the time we fall
Other times we hang our heads
Blame it on our parents, their parents
This country, these threads
Or the first two words, after the title of course
Lay nothing on The New Joys

When we’re not busy thinking too much
I suppose we should be thinking this through
We look down at the road
Think, “This is rough”
Then up at the clouds
Thinking, “Now that’s enough”

Words - still weaving
Hemmed in by them now
“Some days” he says “they’re all I’ve got.”
Should I say this out loud?

But then there’s you
Outside this high definition
The real 2020
Vision of beauty
Not just on this channel but the whole shebang
Moving truth
Not “shot through with explanation”
There are no holes in this story
only windows in…

I’m rarely up before the sun and this half dream
The one where I’m in your parlour, is fading fast
The other half’s still caught up with the cats in the kitchen
Dishes to do
Yawning now
Dawning on me, “It’s hard to learn the ropes when you’re not up against them”

Talking slower
’Til you wind me up and we wind up somewhere else
Time’s up somewhere else
But not here, not yet

Thoughts to matter
Form from force
What are we doing?
Why, we’re performing, of course

Try as I might
To get these words right
Come on- type-write- tear it up
Are you stuck?
Stuck in the snow?
Can we roll?
Roll through with the White Out?
Best foot forward?
Nah, best turn the light out
Let’s sleep on it, babe
Baby, please don’t go
Down to Nouvelle Écosse
Through This Cold Triangle
Stay close
Okay - hit ‘em all if you must - every angle
Unity’s not mutually exclusive
When The Old Boys Club can book a room at The New Joys Inn

Goddamn, you’re a character but I can’t find the key for you
This? This afternoon?
Tea for two?
Maybe then I get a clearer picture
What is in fact true
This blue you’ve been through
And where you’re going
And how close to follow when it’s snowing

released April 5, 2024
Produced by Joel Plaskett
Recorded by Charles Austin at The Carleton & Joel Plaskett at Fang Recording
Mixed by Joel Plaskett & Thomas Stajcer at Fang Recording
Mastered by J. LaPointe at Archive Mastering

Words by Joel Plaskett
Music by Bill Stevenson & Joel Plaskett

Joel Plaskett: vocals, nylon string and electric guitars
Bill Stevenson: Wurlitzer

View full details