Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Contest:: Win Joel Plaskett's Three - Part 2

When I jokingly suggested to the Ack that we split up Joel Plaskett's new triple opus, with he, the much, much more prolific hill-half, doing of the first and third discs, while I, of the glacial writing speed, would handle the second, there were three things I didn't take into account:

1) That he would agree to it
2) That disc two is the rather serious, "isolated and homesick Joel" one, and that is not usually in my wheelhouse
3) That the Ack would write a novel, which I would have to then follow up on

Well no matter, I really should have anticipated Numbers one and three, as us writing the verbose posts is like Joel bringing his Dad Bill out on stage during a Halifax show: it happens on the regular. But there is a plus side to following the Ack, as I think he's hit the nail square on the head in most of the things he's said about Joel and this ambitious project of his - so as a result, they don't need repeating from yours truly. Now I don't have to repeat them, but this wouldn't be the hill if I didn't do it to some extent.

The Ack opened his second paragraph with this statement: "I’m not sure any Canadian artist has finally tuned their style as well as Joel Plaskett." And I think he's right. When I think of Joel now, one of the main things that comes to mind now is just how comfortable he is in his artistic skin these days. In high school and after, Joel came across as the tall, somewhat shy, and perhaps a little awkward, fourth of Thrush Hermit. But while the height remains, the rest is gone. His vast experience as an artist has transformed him into a supremely confident and comfortable performer, one who is happy with his success, but is even more interested in pursuing art that he considers meaningful and satisfying. Three is the latest result of that pursuit.

Think about it: it takes a bit of chutzpah to release a triple album in today's record buying (cough...downloading) climate. Joel is a shrewd guy, he knows this is a bit of a gamble, but I think he also realizes that he's at a point in his career where the personal fulfillment he feels in doing something like this outweighs what he would stand to gain from trying to just put out one Nowhere With You after another.

But what of Disc 2 then, the reason for this here article (well I'm sure the reason you're here is for the second trivia question down below)? As I mentioned in my second point up above, the slower, more acoustic focused songs found in this portion of the album wouldn't normally be the ones I'd gravitate to. But these heartfelt songs of longing for home and for loved ones, those both far away and lost forever, have a simple honesty that drew me in after a couple listens. Joel has a knack for writing songs that people can relate to, no matter what the subject matter of the song may be. A perfect example of this is Shine On, Shine On, Shine On, which is undoubtably influenced by his time spent touring down under, but the theme of trying to enjoy where you are when you're missing someone is something many of us can relate to.

Despite the serious subject matter found here, I think the collection definitely picks up some momentum in its centre section. Sailors Eyes is one of the few uptempo songs in this section, and it has an adventurous arrangement (what is that in the opening, a lute? I hope it's a lute) to match its tale of dangerous love. Anna Egge's vocals are put to great use on this as well. In contrast to the full sound of Sailors Eyes, the sparse guitar and drum machine jangle of In The Blue Moonlight is just effective, matching the loneliness of the lyrics. Beyond, Beyond, Beyond is an honest and affectionate look at the time Joel spent in Lunenburg before moving to Halifax - it's another one of those songs that tells a specific story, but many people have a similar story to tell. There's something about New Scotland Blues that makes me think it'll be a mainstay in many a Plaskett setlist in the future.

Now, to get to the important bit of this post, the next trivia question:

What is the name of the Halifax neighborhood Joel spent his teen years in?
1) There is a Thrush Hermit record named after it.
2) It is mentioned in Drunk Teenagers.

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Posted at 10:30 PM by naedoo :: 1 comments

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At 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous did sayeth:

umm...alot of info in you post is false... might wanna do some more research


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