We continue our review of the Huffington Post’s 100 Best Canadian Songs Ever, and at #97 find the infinitely talented and eternally boyish-looking Joel Plaskett with his single, “Nowhere With You.” It’s a catchy song, infectious perhaps in the manner of Pharrell’s 2014 smash mood-booster, “Happy.” Plaskett is a creative; an artist’s musician, and perhaps that is credited to having come up on Canada’s east coast alongside other art-rockers like Sloan, the Super Friendz, and The Flashing Lights (all bands, and a scene, that merit their own posts).
Plaskett is known for not pursuing formulaic success, but rather exploring and creating within his craft. “Nowhere With You” is likely his most radio-friendly release to date. It saw commercial success as the soundtrack to a Zeller’s commercial (while at no point uttering “where the lowest price is the law,”) before that discount store disappeared from the retail landscape in 2011. How Canadian is that? Plaskett deserves his successes, though, and likely a spot on this chart, having been at the craft intensely and for a long time.
Born in the picturesque port town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, the multi-award winning multi-instrumentalist first came to prominence as a member of the band Thrush Hermit, whom we’ll also talk about in a post of their own. Now based in Dartmouth, outside the province’s capital of Halifax, Plaskett’s work often references the east coast. Pairing up in the early 2000’s with drummer Dave Marsh and bassist Tim Brennan to launch The Joel Plaskett Emergency, the trio scored a hit in 2003 with “Come On, Teacher.” It was 2006’s “Nowhere With You,” though, that propelled Plaskett to a new echelon of success.
Nominated for, and recipient of, a wealth of East Coast Music Awards and Juno Awards, Plaskett was selected by Paul McCartney to open the latter’s July 2009 show at Halifax Common. In 2011, Plaskett became the first artist ever to reach one million airplays on CBC Radio 3‘s streaming site, marking the occasion with this acoustic version of “Nowhere With You.”
In 2012, the Joel Plaskett Emergency released Scrappy Happiness, recording one song a week for ten weeks, and releasing each as an iTunes single upon its completion; the album itself was issued for purchase as a whole at the end of the 10 weeks. The band continues to create, having released The Park Avenue Sobriety Test in March 2015. By all accounts, Plaskett seems the Canadian-musician stereotype, as I see it: astoundingly talented and creative, yet humble and sincere; someone who is really just one of the rest of us. As to “Nowhere With You,” one YouTube commenter perhaps sums it up best: “Every time I hear this song it’s like BAM INSTANT HAPPINESS, SMILES AND RAINBOWS!!”
On a different note, we acknowledge the passing of the legendary bassist Louis “Thunder Thumbs” Jordan, famed for his band The Brothers Johnson, and for his session work with likes of Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder. Yes, he laid down that distinctive, punctuated, and instantly recognizable bass line to “Billie Jean.” Jordan’s cause of death It is not known at the time of publishing, but his pioneering slap-bass style will long live on. Rolling Stone provides a more detailed tribute to another legend gone. RIP, and thank you for the funk!
Lastly, it’s the Eurovision finals tonight, and I hope for a spectacle! I have every good intention of live-Tweeting during the event, so feel free to join me: @rawkstar81.