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Great Lake Swimmers

2018 marks the 15th anniversary of Great Lake Swimmers. Over seven albums, multiple EPs, live broadcasts, and reissues, the Toronto-based project led by singer-songwriter Tony Dekker has established itself as a beloved indie folk act in their native Canada and beyond. The CBC has called them “a national treasure” while their music has taken them around the world, sharing a sound that is at once familiar and distinct, using the tools of folk music as the starting point to delve deeper.

It’s this contrast and evolution that brings them to their latest release, The Waves, The Wake – a metaphor for the future ahead, and the past trailing behind. Abandoning the acoustic guitar, this new collection of songs sees the group branching out to include new sounds such as harp, lute, pipe organ, woodwinds, congas and marimbas, alongside the more familiar flecks and chimes of the banjo, piano, and 12-string electric guitar. The stunning acoustics of the historic, 145 year old Bishop Cronyn Memorial Church in London, Ontario lend the atmospheric touch to the album, under the guidance of co-producer Chris Stringer (Union Sound). This record is about the songs, first and foremost, and was made with many of Toronto’s most talented players, including arrangements by Drew Jurecka and electric guitar appearances both atmospheric and spirited by Kevin Kane (Grapes Of Wrath). Long time collaborators Erik Arnesen (banjo, guitar), Bret Higgins (bass), and Josh Van Tassel (percussion) also contribute their considerable musicianship.

“The Talking Wind” opens the album solely with woodwinds and vocals, setting the tone with its scaled back, minimalist approach. Similarly sparse arrangements on “Falling Apart” pair a meditative, layered piano with an appearance by renowned harpist Mary Lattimore alongside Dekker’s haunting, plaintive vocals. Bridging the album to the group’s past work, the lonely jangle of “Alone But Not Alone” is a study in song-craft; “Side Effects” matches lyrical substance to musical motifs with its expressive vibraphone, tempo variations, and vocal effects.

But perhaps the album’s centerpiece is the entirely a cappella “Visions Of A Different World” with its ghostly, longing vocals nakedly bearing its message.

Great Lake Swimmers have twice been nominated for Juno Awards, have been shortlisted for the prestigious Polaris Prize, and won a Canadian Indie Award for Favourite Folk/Roots Artist/Group. They have shared the stage as support for such musical luminaries as Robert Plant, Feist, and Calexico, and have appeared as headliners for many of Canada’s major Folk Music festivals. Their relentless touring schedule and countless live shows have helped them develop devoted fan bases across Canada, the US, Europe, the UK and many points beyond. Mojo dubbed them “Ambient Zen Americana” and Exclaim has described them as a “cherished blend of folk and orchestral indie pop.”

Videos & Press
  • Album Premiere: ‘The Waves, The Wake’ by Great Lake Swimmers

    [The Big Takeover] Toronto’s Great Lake Swimmers are excited to share their latest album, The Waves, The Wake, which comes out this Friday, August 17th. The LP was recorded in the 145-year-old Bishop Cronyn Memorial Church and produced by Chris Stringer (Union Sound). Lead singer-songwriter Tony Dekker decided to challenge himself by writing new music […]

  • Don’t Miss Great Lake Swimmers Live at Paste Studios

    [Paste Magazine] Watch here!

  • Great Lake Swimmers Bring It Back to the Beginning on ‘Alone But Not Alone’

    [Noisey] The Canadian band’s newest single from their forthcoming record, ‘The Waves, The Wake,’ is a breezy 60s inspired track that’s more than meets the eye. By Sarah MacDonald For their upcoming album, The Waves, The Wake out on August 17, Great Lake Swimmers wanted to take a different approach: strip down and go back […]

  • Great Lake Swimmers Announce New Album, ‘The Waves, The Wake,’ Out August 17

    GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM ‘THE WAVES, THE WAKE’, RELEASING AUGUST 17TH, 2018 SHARE OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR “THE TALKING WIND”;‘SIDE EFFECTS’ EP OUT FRIDAY APRIL 13TH HEADLINE CANADIAN TOUR STARTS SEPTEMBER 13TH “…a beautiful, hypnotic track wrapped in a rich, comforting warmth…” – CBC Music (re: “The Talking Wind”) “’The Talking Wind’ sees a […]

  • Great Lake Swimmers Share Two New Songs, ‘Falling Apart’ and ‘The Talking Wind’

    CANADIAN SPRING TOUR ANNOUNCED MORE NEW MUSIC TO COME IN 2018 “…a beautiful, hypnotic track wrapped in a rich, comforting warmth…” – CBC “’The Talking Wind’ sees a band experimenting with orchestral sounds in a novel ways, and to significant artistic effect.” – Culture Collide February 20, 2018 (Los Angeles, CA) – 2018 marks the […]

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