PORT HAWKESBURY: When Bill Plaskett and his son Joel Plaskett get together to write songs, the result, as Bill describes it, is “a touch of the traditional mixed in with the new, and a lot of the unexpected, arrived at through experimentation.”
The result is Solidarity, an album that welds Bill’s traditional folk leanings with Joel’s long and acclaimed history in the Canadian rock landscape. While Joel is a nationally-adored, JUNO Award-winning songwriter, the foundations of his talent began at home with his father Bill, who is an accomplished musician himself and co-founder of the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival.
“My father has certainly been one of my biggest musical influences,” says Joel.
“I grew up around him playing guitars and his love of folk music, particularly music from the British Isles and Ireland, is something I’ve inherited from him – artists like Bert Jansch, Richard Thompson, and Paul Brady. Conversely, I have introduced him to some of my favourite records by artists like Those Bastard Souls, Led Zeppelin, and Gillian Welch.”
Bill and Joel’s converging approaches to songwriting left lots of room for both to help shape each other’s songs. Bill says the pair spent a lot of time “figuring out what to play, and what not to play, listening critically to each other, and talking about the results. And then figuring out themes, motifs, and connections.”
The result of which is “a complementary but different melodic sense that creates a guitar weave that is unique to us,” says Joel. “Between the six-string, tenor and tiple guitars, the bouzoukis and mandolas, there are a lot of ringing strings on this album. Wouldn’t have it any other way.”
The title track, “Solidarity” is a great summation of their collaboration, both lyrically and sonically.
“I wanted a song Dad and I could sing together that connected our individual journeys and our personal politics,” says Joel.
“The word ‘solidarity’ came to mind and didn’t leave.”
The Plasketts will be performing in the Bear Head Conference Room at 8 p.m. on Saturday night.
The concert is supported by: 101.5 The Hawk, The Reporter and Maritime Inns.