Joel Plaskett @ Whelan’s, Dublin - 22nd September 2015

It has been a few years since this contemporary Canadian folk artist from Nova Scotia has played in Ireland and this short tour is in support of his recent release, The Park Avenue Sobriety Test.

The show is well attended, with plenty of expatriate support from the Canadian contingent on the night and it is a timely reminder of the great talent that we have been deprived of on a more regular basis.

Something of a national treasure in homeland, Joel Plaskett has been releasing quality music since his solo debut in the late 1990’s. Whether as part of the more rock orientated Joel Plaskett Emergency or as a solo performer, he has maintained a consistently high standard of song writing with a keen turn of phrase and an observational style that has highlighted his craft and increasing maturity.

Tonight he concentrates on the new release with excellent acoustic versions of The Last Phone Booth, On a Dime, Song for Jersey, Broke and Captains of Industry instantly finding favour and adding to the list of his impressive body of work. A fine guitar player, Joel also presents a very strong stage presence with his easy manner and amusing comments and stories which lend added weight to many of the performances.

A great version of Hard Times, the famous Stephen Foster song, is particularly poignant in its humanity and timely message. We are also treated to On the Rail, a song he was commissioned to write about the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton. Nina & Albert is a fictitious love story and I Love This Town is always a fun song to hear live.  

A request for old favourite True Patriot Love is granted and the title song of the new release is a real gem. Finishing the encore with Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’ is an upbeat way to say goodnight to the enthusiastic crowd, who loved every minute of this intimate performance.

Support on the night was from young Canadian artist Mo Kenney who has been gaining critical acclaim for her talents and who joined Joel for part of his show on guitar and harmony vocals.

Hopefully Joel Plaskett will return in the near future and share his fine musical and song writing talents with us – an artist with much to offer and recommend to any discerning music fan.

Review and photograph by Paul McGee