Joel Plaskett La De Da

Joel Plaskett La De Da
The road is long and Halifax’s Joel Plaskett has called it a second home now for more than ten years. It’s no surprise really that his wanderlust led him to Phoenix, Arizona where fan/studio engineer Bob Hoag invited him to record a whole record for free. With no real songs in place, Plaskett chose to challenge himself by writing new material on the drive down and trusting the rest to spontaneity in the studio. The result is an eclectic, folk-pop travelogue that ranks with some of his best work. An unfairly talented singer-songwriter, Plaskett makes playing mostly every instrument himself seem effortless on new classics like "Happen Now,” not to mention quirky oddities like "Television Set.” The record is haunted by the spirit of the still very much alive Al Tuck, culminating in Plaskett’s sunny rendition of the Tuck outtake "Wishing Well.” The Halifax nods lose their subtlety by the album’s closer, "I Love This Town,” a tender paean to Plaskett’s musical community. La De Da might have warranted a trip away but all roads eventually point home for Joel Plaskett.

Is it important for you to convey being on the road through your music? I spend a lot of my time travelling and it’s what occupies my mind. I’ve always been a fan to some degree of autobiography in music whether it’s heart wrenching like Joni Mitchell’s Blue or hilarious like Jonathan Richman. For the most part, I like music that sounds like who you are, that’s poetic and personal and gives an interesting take on the ordinary. I’m not trying to romanticise the road like, "We’re an American band” or anything — it’s more like, you drive through a town and get a picture of it before you leave.

How did La De Da’s spontaneity suit you? I really felt like making something with more of a documentary feeling and not second-guessing myself. I had two weeks to make it and come up with the songs and it took me a while to figure it all out. There’s a deliberate flow to it that’s like travelling somewhere and I think it comes full-circle; from leaving Halifax to coming home again. In some ways, these songs were demoed with the intention of releasing them as is and I like that about them. They are what they are and, because we were working so quickly, I’m still kind of rediscovering the record. (MapleMusic)