Joel Plaskett and The New Scotland Yard win ECMAs in St. John’s

ECMAJoel Plaskett won Producer of the Year at the 2015 East Coast Music Awards this past weekend in St. John’s. His studio, The New Scotland Yard, also won Studio of the Year! Studio Manager and Head Engineer, Thomas Stajcer, was on hand to accept the awards.

Learn more about The New Scotland Yard here.

Congratulations to all of the winner and nominees!

Joel shows Noisey his Analog Studio

Joel shows Noisey his Analog Studio -

I had never heard the word ‘reverberant’ so many times in one sitting, until I visited Joel Plaskett and Thomas Stajcer’s analog studio. Here, sitting in front of Plaskett’s massive Rupert Neve Designs 5088 32-channel console I’ve started to hear it so much that the word sounds made up. It’s the centrepiece of New Scotland Yard, Plaskett’s one-room recording joint in an old storehouse in the middle of downtown Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

“This console used to belong to Usher, based on the serial number,” Plaskett says, his long legs and arms crossed, “Isn’t that funny? I know this could do some really amazing sounding hip-hop.”

Stajcer chimes in: “We also got this recently,” he says, showing off an SP1200 sampler circa 1987, “This is the sound of early New York hip-hop, like DJ Premier or Pete Rock. It’s like going back to DOS, though, it only takes floppy disks.” We make fun of old shit for a minute and I can’t believe I’m hanging out with Plaskett, one of the best living Canadian songwriters. He’s also an advocate for the preservation of cool buildings, so in accordance, he’s created his own. He reminds me of a high-school music teacher talking with his hands and weaving technical knowledge into something quirky but completely understandable.


Plaskett, Kenney, and New Scotland Yard nominated for MNS awards

Music Nova Scotia kicked things off for Nova Scotia Music Week with the announcement of their award nominees today.

We’re proud to have Joel Plaskett nominated for Producer of the Year and New Scotland Yard nominated for Recording Studio of the Year. Mo Kenney is nominated for Entertainer of the Year and this award is special because it is voted on by you – the fans! Voting begins in October, we’ll have an update once more details are released.

Nova Scotia Music Week is taking place from November 6-9 in Truro Colchester County. Congratulations to all the nominees!

Singing up a storm all summer long

Mo’s been singing up a storm all summer long! In June, she played a rockin’ show at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern as part of NXNE in Toronto. Then she stopped in at the Montreal Folk Festival for a performance to an endearing mob of fans along the canal, before continuing east all the way to Western Shore, NS, for a show at the Treasures by the Sea Summer Concert Series at Atlantica Oak Island Resort, and then off to the Calgary Folk Music Festival.

Mo then returned to Cape Breton for the Gordie Sampson Songcamp Circle reunion taking place at the Keltic Lodge in Ingonish. The week brought Mo and her Songcamp alumni pals, including Dylan Guthro and Molly Thomason, together again for writing sessions and concerts in Ingonish and Louisbourg.

Mo’s new album is almost ready! The record will be released in September. Check out Mo’s Facebook page for more details.

August 3 – New Glasgow, NS, Riverfront Jubilee
August 9–10 – Regina, SK, Regina Folk Festival
August 22 – Charlottetown, PEI, PEI Jazz and Blues Festival

The Khyber is where things start

In 1994 I was 19 years old and playing in my first band, Thrush Hermit. We were shooting our first video on the third floor of the Khyber building.  I met and immediately fell for the video makeup artist, Rebecca Kraatz.  We were married 12 years later.

By 2000, my new band the Emergency was jamming on the Khyber’s top floor in Ultramagnetic Recording, Charles Austin’s music studio.  The skylight leaked, it was unventilated and hot, and we had to lug our gear up and down four flights of stairs. It was perfect.  It was here we recorded our first album, Down at the Khyber, a reference to my favourite New Orleans singer Irma Thomas’ Down at Muscle Shoals.  The Khyber was our Muscle Shoals and the music we were making there felt as relevant as anything being recorded at Abbey Road or Capitol, if slightly scrappier and budget conscious. At night we would head downstairs to the first floor Khyber Club to have a drink (or three), see a band (or be the band), and hang out with all the other artists, musicians, potters, freaks and locals.  It was one of the happiest and most creative times of my life.

The Khyber is an incubator.  It’s not simply a bunch of struggling musicians and NSCAD students hanging out, waiting on some grant money. It’s where people who occupy the fringe cut their teeth, launch their careers and find their community. It has housed hundreds of artist studios, galleries and local businesses over the years.  This cross pollination of vibrant creativity and commerce in one building is rare.  Can the same case be made about many other local buildings? Maybe the Roy but now it’s demolished.

I understand the argument that suggests these ideas, businesses and projects could incubate in another, more modernized space but it’s not that simple.  The Khyber represents something bigger to the community. It’s our mini Greenwich Village or Left Bank.  It’s history speaks to you through the floorboards and its presence downtown on Barrington Street is crucial.  Yes, the Khyber costs the city money and it is easy to put a number on that cost that scares the city council. What is not as easy to tally is the wealth the building’s occupants have generated and put back into the community over the years.  This number is certainly far more than the four million dollars they are saying it will cost to repair the building.

As the historic Halifax we all love disappears in the face of development we have to find a way to preserve and hold onto The Khyber, whatever the price tag.  To quote my wife Rebecca, “we still need to have one beautiful lady standing there”.

– Joel Plaskett

Stanfest, Rise Again – The Show Must Go On

Joel Plaskett is performing in the Rise Again – The Show Must Go On concert on August 20 at the Metro Centre in Halifax, in support for the Stan Rogers Folk Festival.

Festival organizers were forced to cancel their 18th annual event this year in the face of Hurricane Arthur as it blew into Atlantic Canada. Annually Stanfest, as it is affectionately known, brings over 50 artists together in front of 12,000 fans in Canso, Nova Scotia.

The line-up for the Rise Again – The Show Must Go On concert includes:

Carl Bond
Catherine MacLellan
Dave Gunning
J.P. Cormier
Joel Plaskett
Laura Smith
Matt Andersen
Molly Thomason
Rhapsody Quintet
The Stanfields
Stephen Fearing
Thom Swift

Tickets are $42.50. Tickets are available online at, Ticket Atlantic Box Office, participating Atlantic Superstores, charge by phone at 451-1221 and toll free at 1-877-451-1221. Service charges apply.

East Coast, West Coast, we got you covered

Mo finished recording all her songs at the New Scotland Yard studio in Dartmouth, with her infamous producer Joel Plaskett, who’s putting the final touches on the album. It’s all coming together for an early fall release date.

For East Coast fans this summer, Mo is performing at the New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee on (August 3) and the PEI Jazz and Blues Festival (August 22). For the West Coasters out there, we’ve got a great summer planned with shows and workshops at the Calgary Folk Music Festival (July 24-27) and Regina Folk Festival (August 9-10). Stay tuned for more show details here.

Summer folk fest time

It’s summer folk fest time, people! As you already know, Joel loves touring this great big country of ours, and this summer is no exception.

Besides already rockin’ out at the Sled Island music festival in Calgary, the NXNE show in Toronto, and a benefit concert in Moncton, Joel’s got more great summer shows lined up:

Acoustic Maritime Music Festival, Kempt Shore NS, July 18 & 19
Regina Folk Festival Regina, Regina SK, August 8 & 9
PEI Jazz & Blues Festival, Charlottetown PEI August 22
Shelter Valley Folk Festival, Grafton ON, August 29 & 30
Halifax Urban Folk Festival, Halifax NS August 31
Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival, Fredericton NB, September 13

Click here for show details.


Joel Plaskett performing at HUFF in Halifax

With summer festival now in full swing, organizers behind the fifth annual Halifax Urban Folk Festival have begun to unfurl the info behind this year’s headlining acts, including Joel Plaskett, Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner, Doug Paisley and more.

This year’s event runs August 24 through September 1 at various venues across downtown Halifax. While the lineup details have yet to be released in full, artists like Paisley and Pirner will make multiple appearances throughout the festival, with other participants revealed so far also including Catherine MacLellan, Dwight Twilley, Steve Poltz, the Northern Pikes’ Brian Potvin, Garland Jeffreys and more.

Though more info is still on the way, you’ll find the confirmed show details over annual here. Tickets for these shows run between $10 and $45, and you can pick them up online here.


Joel Plaskett performs “Love This Town” while driving around Halifax

CBC Music presents Beetle Roadtrip Sessions with Grant Lawrence.

To watch the video, click HERE.

CBC Music Presents  The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions on CBC Music copy

If you consider yourself even remotely a fan of Joel Plaskett, you’ll probably be familiar with his ode to his hometown of the Halifax, “Love This Town.” It’s a classic.

You might also remember that the proud East Coast singer-songwriter named his award-winning 2007 concept album Ashtray Rock after his woodland teenage hangout near his childhood home in the Halifax suburb of Clayton Park.

For this CBC Music Beetle Roadtrip Session, Joel Plaskett serenades me with “Love This Town” while giving me a driving tour of his favourite haunts of Dartmouth and Halifax… and concludes with an epic quest into the suburbs to see if we can find the long lost actual Ashtray Rock. It’s Plaskett’s first time back in twenty years.

(And if you aren’t a Joel Plaskett fan yet, this video just might win you over.)