This album, Emergency's... isn't a "best of" collection; it's a selection of b-sides, covers, demos and rarities from Joel's post-Thrush Hermit days, so admittedly it's not the best place for a new listener to start; but as a long-time fan, this is a treasure chest full of insight and history.
The lead track on this album is one that Joel originally recorded for the 2009 edition of the CBC Radio2 SongQuest 'contest': On the Rail. It's pretty representative of his more rock-centric work over the years (which is why I don't mind highlighting it here). It's a very Canadian track lyrically, as most of his stuff is. In HeroHill's exhaustive review/interview of this album states:
[Joel] started writing this from the perspective of John Cabot, getting ready to set sail out of Bristol, but it gradually turned into a rocker for anyone with an adventurous spirit.And that's exactly what it is... it's got a sing-along chorus, a steady beat, a straight-forward sound, but it's still so good from start to finish. It's optimistic and uplifting. It's a great summer afternoon -kinda song.
If you like what you hear here, I'd suggest that you next try something from his album, with The Emergency, Truthfully, Truthfully (which was just re-released on his own New Scotland Records label on double-gatefold vinyl!) -- maybe something like Come On Teacher or Extraordinary.
» Listen: Joel Plaskett - On the Rail