Joel Plaskett returns with one of the most diverse and fan-pleasing albums of his career. Proving that he can be all things to everybody, the rock veteran offers up a wide mix of styles on Joel Plaskett and the Park Avenue Sobriety Test. It touches on his solo acoustic side, his guitar rock work with the Emergency, his happy-go-lucky rhyming talents, carefree memories of growing up in Nova Scotia, and a little bit of anger at the forces making life tougher these days. There are many moments that draw on previous classic Plaskett, from beloved albums such as Three and Ashtray Rock, right back to his Thrush Hermit days. And there are new sides to his sounds as well – Joel like you’ve never heard him.
There are plenty of hints as to where his head is at these days – 39 and holding, looking back at how he got there, and ahead past that milestone birthday. Even the title holds a clue in its anagram: Joel Plaskett and the P.A.S.T. You’ll find references to his salad days, like “On A Dime,” which starts with a blast of downhome Celtic fiddle from Cape Breton great J.P. Cormier. Then there’s Plaskett riffing on memories of playing road hockey in the liquor store parking lot, and later, traveling to Memphis with his band Thrush Hermit to make their first album. It’s not truly autobiographical though. These are more observations that have piled up over the last twenty-plus years of being a touring musician, traveling and meeting folks coast to coast to coast, mixing it in with his own life. If anything, it’s the teenager from Ashtray Rock, all grown up.