East coast will meet West later on this month, when Joel Plaskett performs two shows in B.C. the first a Vancouver show with Steve Earle at the Orpheum January 23, and then Prince George’s Coldsnap Music Festival the following night during a sold-out show at the Prince George Playhouse.
“My home is out East, but I’m starting to do well out West. It’s a place I don’t play as frequently. There’s still a relatively uncharted territory,” Plaskett said while driving around, adding that he’s never been to Prince George. “I look forward to playing Prince George. To me, it’s uncharted waters.”
Plaskett, who is touring in support of his latest album Three, will be doing his Prince George performance without his usual backing band The Emergency, though he did say that his father Bill will be joining him on a few songs. Depending on Bill’s work schedule, he’s taken to performing alongside his son this past year in support of Three, an album he also performed on.
“I like all different types of shows. Every show is different” Plaskett said of performing without his band. One benefit to playing without the band is his ability to perform any song requested from his extensive catalogue, something that is harder to do with a band. During solo shows, Plaskett said that he also enjoys taking time between songs to tell the audience stories about a song’s inspiration, or whatever else may pop into his head.
During the day of January 24, alongside Vancouver musician Hannah Georgas, Plaskett will be hosting a workshop on songwriting. When asked what he might share with local songwriters, Plaskett said that he wasn’t sure, but could at least disclose his own songwriting preferences.
“I like songs with a lot of personality,” he stated. “Truth or a really well-executed lie are the best songs.”
The words of a song are the most important part, Plaskett said.
“Most of the chords and melodies have been used, so it’s the words that set the songs apart.”
Having found a melody and style that he likes, Plaskett said that at this point his songs are rather consistent, though he also likes to make every record different. He does this by making the framework of the songs different all the time that, and his ever-improving intelligent and often humorous lyrics.
Although his latest album, Three, is more of a laid-back listening experience with a great deal of acoustic numbers, Plaskett said that he looks forward to turning up his guitar amp again, possibly with The Emergency. Another goal is to also write lyrics that create an imprecise picture.
“The way Neil Young writes a dream-like quality,” Plaskett explained.
Although he’s written about 12 new songs in the past few months, Plaskett said that he plans on playing mainly songs that people will already know, with a new song or two thrown in.
“Prince George has never seen me play, so I should play some older songs,” Plaskett said.
It should be easy for Plaskett to find songs in his catalogue that people already know, as in recent years his popularity in the Canadian music scene has sky rocketed. Although he has a manager in the United States who is interested in getting Plaskett to promote his music across the border, Plaskett said that his ongoing goal is to maintain his fan base in Canada, as it is enough to keep him both busy and content. Why spread oneself too thin when there’s a great and supportive fan base back home, he argues.
Plaskett is performing Sunday Jan. 24 at the Prince George Playhouse with Vancouver singer-songwriter Hannah Georgas. Although the show is sold out, there may still be room in the songwriting workshop with Plaskett and Georgas. The workshop is to take place during the day at a venue that has yet to be determined. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the workshop.