Tag Archives: The Joel Plaskett Emergency

O Canada

Not too long ago, a close friend of mine became a Canadian citizen. Today we celebrated that fact. I told her and her husband that I would provide the music for the party…


  1. Blue In Yr Eye – Amy Millan
  2. Snowbird – Anne Murray
  3. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) – The Arcade Fire
  4. The Power – Army Girls
  5. Sleepy Maggie – Ashley MacIsaac
  6. Tall Tall Shadow – Basia Bulat
  7. Two Girls From Montreal – The Bicycle
  8. Somebody Waits – Blue Rodeo
  9. Hasn’t Hit Me Yet – Blue Rodeo
  10. Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl – Broken Social Scene
  11. Lovers In A Dangerous Time – Bruce Cockburn
  12. Pop Goes the World – The Burning Hell
  13. Golden Baby – Cœur de pirate
  14. Claire – Cuff The Duke
  15. Sold – Dan Mangan
  16. The Valley Town – Elliott Brood
  17. Assoholic – 54-40
  18. Highschool – The Flashing Lights
  19. It’s Not Safe – Gentleman Reg
  20. Outside Of Saskatoon – The Good Family
  21. Song For A Winter’s Night – Gordon Lightfoot
  22. Straight Up the Dial – Hooded Fang
  23. You Will Know – The Inbreds
  24. True Patriot Love – The Joel Plaskett Emergency
  25. A Case Of You – Joni Mitchell
  26. Raised On Robbery – Joni Mitchell
  27. I Woke Myself Up – Julie Doiron
  28. Crabbuckit – k-os
  29. If Rap Gets Jealous – K’naan
  30. Back to Me – Kathleen Edwards
  31. Never Had To Fight – Local Rabbits
  32. Let Your Backbone Slide – Maestro Fresh Wes
  33. Fil de soie – Marie-Pierre Arthur
  34. Echo Beach – Martha And The Muffins
  35. Cocaine Cowgirl – Matt Mays & El Torpedo
  36. Ages & Stages – The Meligrove Band
  37. Rockin’ In The Free World – Neil Young
  38. Pocahontas – Neil Young & Crazy Horse
  39. Mass Romantic – The New Pornographers
  40. Someone Who’s Cool – Odds
  41. Joy of Cooking – Old Man Luedecke
  42. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Paul Anka
  43. Scott Pilgrim – Plumtree
  44. 9 Piece Luggage Set – Radio Radio
  45. April Fools – Rufus Wainwright
  46. Edmonton – The Rural Alberta Advantage
  47. North Humberland West – The Sadies
  48. Possession – Sarah McLachlan
  49. Money City Maniacs – Sloan
  50. Everything You’ve Done Wrong – Sloan
  51. Underwhelmed – Sloan
  52. Home For A Rest – Spirit Of The West
  53. Northwest Passage – Stan Rogers
  54. Up And Running – The Super Friendz
  55. The Day We Hit The Coast – Thrush Hermit
  56. Life Is A Highway – Tom Cochrane
  57. Raise a Little Hell – Trooper
  58. D.D. – The Weeknd Trilogy
  59. Common People – William Shatner
  60. I Wasn’t Made For Fighting – Woodhands

Recollection Volume 1 – Down At The Khyber

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly.

Album: Down At The Khyber
Artist: The Joel Plaskett Emergency
Released: 2001
Format(s) I own it on: CD/Vinyl

The Joel Plaskett Emergency - Down At The KhyberThe Joel Plaskett Emergency’s Down At The Khyber is the perfect choice to start this project. The album was chosen randomly, but Plaskett was the first artist I ever interviewed1

Pictured to the left is the album’s vinyl release. When I interviewed Plaskett I had him sign my copy; it sits framed in my living room.

Plaskett had, throughout his years with Thrush Hermit, traveled from coast to coast. Down At The Khyber is a record about a life on the road. From the title track where his true love will never betray him, even if he’s on the road, to singing about his popularity soaring while on the road to Saskatchewan, to driving across the country by the “Light of the Moon.” Plaskett’s songs live in the geography of Canada; he practically bleeds maple syrup.

The Joel Plaskett Emergency were Joel Plaskett, Tim Brennan, and Dave Marsh.


The title track is about meeting his love at Halifax’s storied Khyber Club. It’s a tale of love and trust. It’s also a killer rock and roll song.

“Blinding Light” is a beautiful country duet with the then-Guthrie Ruth Minnikin. Any time Minnikin sings is a pleasure and Plaskett puts in his best vocal performance of the album.

Plaskett apparently likes to drift off to the CBC and found that the 3AM sign off was too early. “True Patriot Love” is a rock and roll anthem about the CBC’s sign off.

The album finishes with “Light of the Moon,” a beautiful acoustic song about traveling from Canada’s west to the east. It’s hauntingly beautiful and ends the record with a ruckus deserving of this album.


This album is pretty damn solid, but I often take a pass at “This Is A Message” and “Unconditional Love.” Not Plaskett’s best songs, but still good.

Men 1 (100%) | Women 0 (0%)
Canada 1 (100%)
Ontario0 (0%) | Quebec0 (0%) | Nova Scotia1 (100%) | New Brunswick0 (0%) | Manitoba0 (0%) | British Columbia0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island0 (0%) | Saskatchewan0 (0%) | Alberta0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador0 (0%)
Northwest Territories0 (0%) | Yukon0 (0%) | Nunavut0 (0%)
  1. For Being There Magazine. Click here for the article. []

TURF Day 1

The Barr Brothers:

The Barr Brothers

Your name confuses me. Remember The Barmitzvah Brothers? I do! I thought you were them. You are not. You were okay though. I enjoyed your set. It was a nice lazy set to open the festival with. You were enjoyable… bravo.

The Barr Brothers

Camera Obscura:

Camera Obscura

You want to be Belle & Sebastian. All these years later, you still want to be Belle & Sebastian. You’re not Belle & Sebastian… BUT BELLE & SEBASTIAN WILL BE AT TURF LATER IN THE WEEK! OMG! OMG! OMG! You’re pleasant. You write nice songs. They’re not great, but they’re fun. Your bass player has a TARDIS sticker on his bass. I approve of that. Sadly you didn’t play your best song, “Suspended From Class.”

Camera Obscura

The Joel Plaskett Emergency:

Joel Plaskett Emergency

What can I say about Plaskett? I’ve seen him a few hundred times already. He’s an entertainer, he knows how to put on a good show. Sure I might not really dig Scrappy Happiness, but the set overall was a lot of fun. My only comment would be that I took out my ear plugs three times during your set thinking that the set was over, but then you started tuning you guitar… Why am I writing it to Joel, he’s not going to read this… Well, hi Joel. Long time no talk. Ran into your friend Peter a few weeks back at NXNE. You should tell him to grow his beard back. Beard.

Joel Plaskett Emergency

She & Him:

First off, why no photo pit She & Him? Also why no letting the VIP guests (WHO PAID A SHITLOAD EXTRA) into the VIP area?!?! That’s not nice, She & Him. Your songs can be best described as Zooey’s character on The New Girl; pretty, sweet, vapid. I did enjoy lying out on the grass with my eyes closed listening your music. Until you covered “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me.” Ugh! NO ONE CAN COVER THAT SONG… Unless you’re THE BEATLES! Are you the Beatles? Didn’t think so.

Joel Plaskett Emergency at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Recently Canadian heartthrob and rock balladeer Joel Plaskett committed himself to recording and delivering a song a week. He would go into the studio, record a song, mix and master it, and then send it off to the CBC where it would premiere the next day, and then be available for purchase on iTunes. This is Scrappy Happiness the latest Joel Plaskett Emergency record.

For those unaware, The Joel Plaskett Emergency is Chris Pennell, Dave Marsh, and of course, Joel Plaskett. Plaskett has released seven albums since 1999 and penned some truly classic Canadian songs.

  • In Need of Medical Attention, Joel Plaskett (1999)
  • Down At The Khyber, The Joel Plaskett Emergency (2001)
  • Truthfully Truthfully, The Joel Plaskett Emergency (2003)
  • La De Da, Joel Plaskett (2005)
  • Ashtray Rock, The Joel Plaskett Emergency (2007)
  • Three, Joel Plaskett (2009)
  • Scrappy Happiness, The Joel Plaskett Emergency (2012)

What is exactly the difference between a Joel Plaskett album and a Joel Plaskett Emergency album is unknown to even the most devout, but Plaskett has made a niche for himself with his blend of country, east coast folk, and rock. Whether he’s rocking heavy, or playing with an acoustic guitar his sound is his own and easily recognizable.

On Saturday night I asked a friend where her sisters were, and she replied that they’re “kinda over Plaskett as all his records sound alike.” It was that exact same sentimentality which had another interested in going. She hadn’t seen Plaskett since 2005, and hadn’t heard any of his material since then, yet she felt comfortable going to the concert, as she knew what to expect.

A bit of harsh criticism, but hardly inaccurate.

As the tracks of Scrappy Happiness were released on CBC, I can’t deny that I wasn’t thrilled with the new material. I was also slightly disappointed that a musician as Canadian as Plaskett didn’t rhyme Hüsker Dü with canoe. However, a friend pointed out:

Cut him some slack, this is the guy that rhymed “It’s catchin’ on” with “Saskatchewan.”

However, his material is always good, and he’s a great entertainer, so without hesitation I purchased tickets to both shows at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. For those unaware, the QE is located on the Exhibition grounds near the Lake. It’s a large seated venue where I had previously seen both Dan Mangan and The Magnetic Fields (not the same bill). I didn’t know if it was general admission like Mangan or assigned seating like The Magnetic Fields. Turns out it was assigned seating, and I had the same seats for both shows (well, one apart). I was right on the side, but only about 10 row back.

Opening the show was Frank Turner, a bloke with a guitar. It’s hard for someone with simply a guitar to capture the attention of a large audience, especially an audience there to see another musician, but Turner was able to do that. He had the entire audience singing, and had me so well entertained that I bought his latest album.

Plaskett is another artist who’s good at entertaining a large audience with just an acoustic guitar, but he started his sets with the full Emergency band.

The show mostly consisted of songs from the new record, he however threw in a good chunk of songs from Three, but obviously not the complete triple record. Then he rounded out much of the shows with various songs from his other albums. He barely modified the content of the two shows, however, and it seemed a tad silly to attend both.

He played well, the band was tight, but Plaskett seemed to go on too many long and boring tangents mid-song. I should clarify that they were rehearsed tangents. They weren’t that enjoyable, and they turned “Work Out Fine” from a 3 minute pop masterpiece to a 10 minute wandering wreck.

When he was on form, he was fantastic; such as when he performed his old Thrush Hermit song “Before You Leave” on Saturday night. Other highlights include “Face of the Earth,” “Natural Disaster,” “A Million Dollars,” and “Through and Through and Through.”

Mix albums!

I recently reconnected with an old friend, from back in my high school days. We never went to school together, after all, she was, and still is far off in a foreign country. So I made Beth this mix, but I didn’t know what I might have sent her all those years ago, so I decided to limit myself to nothing older than 2000. I also didn’t know what she had been listening to since then, so I decided to limit the selection to Canadian music.

  1. The Indie Queens Are Waiting” by Dan Mangan
    • This is my favourite Dan Mangan song, and I’ve been on a bit of a kick of listening to him endlessly.
  2. Hibernation Song” by Whale Tooth
    • This is not just my favourite Whale Tooth song, but everyone’s favourite Whale Tooth song. They’re a lot of fun, but this song specifically is addictively catchy.
  3. Oh, Alberta” by Elliott Brood
    • If you’re going to make a mix of mostly Canadian music, how can you ignore the most Canadian song ever written. “Ontario, that’s where I’m from.”
  4. Fourteen Hour Day” by $100
    • This is such a tragic tale of loss and heartache.
  5. The Ballad of Poor John Henry” by Cuff The Duke
    • Number two in the Cuff The Duke’s “Ballad of…” series, and definitely my favourite.
  6. Nowhere With You” by The Joel Plaskett Emergency
    • This song is just addictive and fun. I often forget about the Make A Little Noise EP, so I figured this was a good way to give it some love.
  7. “Morning Dove” by Greg Keelor
    • My favourite song from Keelor’s depressing, but beautiful Seven Songs for Jim album.
  8. The Nun’s Litany” by The Magnetic Fields
    • How can you not love a song with the lyric “I want to be a dominatrix, which isn’t like me, but I can dream. Learn S&M and all those gay tricks, and men would pay me to make them scream.” FYI, on the album Shirley sings the song, but in the video Stephin sings it. He did after all write it.
  9. The Gambler and His Bride” by Daniel, Fred & Julie
    • I never noticed how long this song was until Beth, the recipient of this playlist pointed out how bloody long it actually is. It’s a great song, DF&J played it both times I saw them live recently.
  10. Many Lives -> 49mp” by Final Fantasy
    • The violin is so pretty.
  11. Jumpers” by Sleater-Kinney
    • Not many better songs about killing yourself. “My falling shape will draw a line between the blue of sea and sky; I’m not a bird, I’m not a plane.”
  12. Sunndal Song” by The Apples In Stereo
    • Easy to forget that Hilarie Sidney was in The Apples In Stereo, but I think she added a much needed secondary voice to Robert Schneider’s.
  13. Step Off The Map and Float” by Library Voices
    • We’re all just pinpricks on a paper continent.
  14. Two Girls From Montreal” by The Bicycles
    • The first Bicycles song I got stuck in my head. After seeing them live for the first time (years before their first album was released), I left the venue singing this song.

So, yes, there are one item in there by an international artist, The Magnetic Fields, but not enough people know Stephin Merritt, and that’s just a sin.

A few nights ago, I saw my friend Emily, and somehow my enjoyment from making mix tapes/discs/playlists1 came up, and she asked me to make one for her, so this is what I came up with.

  1. Tina’s Glorious Comeback” by Dan Mangan
    • Dan Mangan started the previous one off so well, why not carry on. This one is another that I’ll happen to listen to days ago, and still be singing it. My coworkers must think I’m insane.
  2. “I’ll Have To Dance With Cassie” by God Help The Girl
    • My favourite God Help The Girl song, and I think Emily would understand the thoughts behind this one.
  3. Cop Song” by Entire Cities
    • One day I was walking down the street listening to this song, and a cop was slowing following me in their car.
  4. Snowsuit Sound” by Sloan
    • Though I’ve given up my love of Sloan, I still understand that they used to be awesome, and this is one of the songs which can perfectly capture it.
  5. Yelverton Hill” by The Inbreds
    • “A ring is an awful thing…”
  6. Great Lakes” by Valery Gore
    • The last mix had Valery’s doppelgänger, so this one should include the original.
  7. “Seduced And Abandoned” by The Magnetic Fields
    • This is the tale of an abandoned woman, left without her lover, but with a baby. It’s not the first time that Merritt has told this story, but I think it’s the best rendition of the tale. See: “The Night You Can’t Remember
  8. Highschool” by The Flashing Lights
    • This power pop anthem is as good as it gets.
  9. Girlfriend” by Eric’s Trip
    • Grunge!
  10. “Don’t Wannabe / Like By You” by Julie Doiron
    • Hehe, I put Julie Doiron right after Eric’s Trip! This is the song women sing when I get a crush on them.
  11. Glitter” by The Superfantastics
    • This two piece is just sugary fun.
  12. Your Island” by Young Rival
    • I like Young Rival, I think Emily would dig these Hamiltononians.
  13. “Scott Pilgrim” by Plumtree
    • With the new Scott Pilgrim film coming out soon, this song is a perfect piece.
  14. “We Are Being Reduced” by Thrush Hermit
    • My lord, this song is stunning.
  1. Any music nerd has this love. []