It’s truly hard to believe that when you take Joel Plaskett’s 2017 “Solidarity” album out of the equation (a recording made with his father, Bill), you are reminded that the 2015 “The Park Avenue Sobriety Test” album was the last studio release from Joel and his band, The Emergency. We caught a live show from Plaskett during the tour for that particular release; the first of many subsequent dates that have since followed with this talented Dartmouth, NS, singer-songwriter, and are naturally ecstatic to learn that on April 17th, 2020, (one day before celebrating his 45th birthday), Joel Plaskett will release a brand new album titled “44.”
A conceptual follow-up to his 2009 JUNO-award winning triple record “Three” (which coincidentally also saw some collaborative work with his father, Bill), “44” is a visionary project comprised of four, 11-song records, packaged together and connected thematically. “Making a record has always felt to me like trying to put a frame around a group of songs,” Joel shares. “In going through my songs from the last four years, it dawned on me that I’d need more than one frame to contain what I’ve been writing about. Hence four panes within a frame, four records in one box.” This new album plans to once again showcase many of his musical talents, and the hallmarks that have established him as one of Canada’s finest contemporary songwriters; so expect some catchy rock and roll, delicate acoustic ballads, and sonic production experiments that will be bound together by his unique and proven signature style. “Synchronicity and numbers have always been a fascination, and I saw this project as an opportunity to create something to mark my 44th year on this mystifying planet,” he adds.
Four years in the making, the songs were recorded in several cities across Canada and the US, with contributions from 33 different musicians. The first album, “41: Carried Away,” starts in Memphis, TN, with the song “Collusion,” old memories colliding with the present and the journey begins. Joel has just released “Head Over Heels Into Heaven” as the first single from this album, a track co-written with good friend and protégé Mo Kenney, and of course, features Emergency band-mates Dave Marsh and Chris Pennell. “42: Just Passing Through,” playfully evokes the feeling of returning home to an unfamiliar landscape, while, “43: If There’s Another Road,” is an introspective, night-time transition from lost to found. Rounding out the collection, “44: The Window Inn,” documents the arrival at a personal destination, as summed up in the final track, “A Benefit 4 Dreamland.”
“44” is likely to be Joel’s most ambitious and imaginative endeavor to date. This is a project that will reveal itself over time, its scale and intention standing in sharp contrast to the fast paced, short-form digital world we navigate daily. Joel Plaskett is ready to take “44” on a cross-country Canadian tour this Spring, accompanied by Mo Kenney; be sure to check out his full schedule at www.joelplaskett.com/tour.