Harvest Profile: Joel Plaskett
By Adam Bowie
Joel Plaskett has been many things over the years – a songwriter, a rock and roller, a folk troubadour, a producer, a record shop and studio owner, a community leader, and above all else, an artist of many talents.
At this stage in the game, the Dartmouth, N.S. native is one of the legends of the East Coast music scene, someone who has helped shape the cultural landscape in our corner of the country, and who has found a place within the soundtrack of our lives.
Over the course of roughly a dozen releases, including the expansive 44, 2020’s four-disc tour de force, Plaskett has become a fan favourite – including with Harvest Music Festival audiences.
You may know lots about this guy. But maybe you don’t know what he stocks his fridge with. We asked him a few get-to-know-you type questions to help gear you up for another Plaskett blowout at Harvest.
AB: What song are you currently obsessed with?
JP: Fool Me by Joe South
AB: What three things are always in your fridge?
JP: Cream cheese, ketchup and carrots.
AB: Name a book, or any other piece of writing, that’s important in your life.
JP: House of Sugar by Rebecca Kraatz.
AB: When you think about the music you heard as a child, who was choosing the song or selecting the radio station, and what kinds of stuff were they picking?
JP: I’d listen to Casey Kasem host American Top 40 on CKBW in Bridgewater, N.S. It was Top of the Pops stuff – Mr. Mister, Van Halen, Billy Joel, Culture Club.
AB: What’s the most interesting or memorable place you’ve visited in your travels?
JP: Igloolik, Nunavut.
AB: What’s more important – talent or work ethic? Why?
JP: Play ethic.
AB: If you had to cook for someone, what are you making and will they be complimenting you afterwards?
JP: Rainbow trout, asparagus and potatoes (in bacon fat) on the Big Green Egg. I deserve no compliments for my culinary skills, but that meal is a nice, simple one in the summer.
AB: What’s a TV show or movie that you’ve watched a dozen times?
JP: Better Off Dead, starring John Cusack.
AB: Is there an artist that you think deserves more recognition for the inspiring work that they do?
JP: Rebecca Kraatz.
AB: If you could thank someone for a helping hand they offered or a piece of advice they delivered when you needed it, who would it be, and how did they help?
JP: That one I’ll keep to myself.
AB: Is there an example of what you’d consider a perfect song? For example, I might suggest George Jones’ “She Thinks I Still Care,” or Lauryn Hill’s “X Factor,” are perfect songs.
JP: Tom Petty’s “The Waiting,” hits all the marks.
AB: What’s a goal that you have for yourself in this business? Maybe you want to make an album at a certain studio, or with a certain producer. Maybe you have a venue in mind that you’d like to sell out, or a festival you’d like to play. Maybe there’s an artist you want to work with. Anything like that?
JP: I’d love to have Nick Lowe produce a record for me in England. And I’d like to produce a record for Burton Cummings in Dartmouth. Doubt either will happen, so I’ll settle for Keith Urban covering “Nowhere With You,” at the Super Bowl.
The Joel Plaskett Emergency performs at 10 p.m. in the TD Mojo Tent on Friday, Sept. 12, 2023. You can buy tickets here.