Tony Dekker is the front man, lead singer, and main songwriter of heralded folk band Great Lake Swimmers. As part of the Inside The Music series Dekker will be making a rare solo appearance. His most recent record album is GLS’s New Wild Everywhere, the follow-up to the band’s critically acclaimed, Polaris Music Prize shortlisted, and Juno-nominated 2009 album Lost Channels. Their fifth album in just under a decade, this collection of 12 tracks reveals a depth and maturity previously only hinted at by Dekker.
Dekker has spent the last decade entrancing listeners with his unforgettable voice and compelling songwriting. Great Lake Swimmers have long been a word-of-mouth favorite in their home country of Canada for whom critical mass was inevitable. They’ve been regarded as a national treasure by the CBC, with Lost Channels (2009) topping the charts at CBC Radio 3 and on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter Chart. In the U.S., Lost Channels debuted at #10 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart and was a favorite among influential bloggers and NPR staff. The band has received public endorsements by the likes of Feist,Robert Plant, and NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. Williams has raved about the band on his personal website; and both Feist and Plant have handpicked the band to open shows and whole tours. Josh Groban has been known to open his show with a Great Lake Swimmers cover, and the band has shared the stage with such varied artists as Calexico, Sarah Harmer, Bela Fleck & The Sparrow Quartet, Hayden, Sloan, Goldfrapp, and Bill Callahan of Smog.
For a band whose storied location recordings in increasingly out-of-the-way places have brought their output to an almost mythical status, longtime Great Lake Swimmers’ producer Andy Magoffin was thrilled to be asked to capture the new album in a real studio. Magoffin recalls, “I finally got what I always wanted: Tony Dekker asked me to help his band make a record in a real studio. No extension cords, boat rides, generators, buzzing flies, squirrel noise, missing connectors, furnace cycles, motorcycles, faulty rentals, bad weather or bad headphone mixes to mess things up. We chose to work in Toronto at Revolution Recording, a brand new studio with brand new everything, except for the old stuff which is also brand new. We had access to a great many microphones, instruments, processors and people we would not normally have had the privilege of working with.”
“We wanted to try something new, expand our horizons, and flex a bit of the creative muscle we’ve built up through years of touring,” says Dekker. “It came as a bit of a surprise how well we functioned as a band in that environment. We were able to focus completely on the songs, rather than the logistical obstacles of waiting for the boat to dock, or the rain to stop. The folks at Revolution felt like extended family and the studio itself is a real Toronto gem.”
However, no Great Lake Swimmers album would be complete without at least one field recording. The song ‘The Great Exhale’ was recorded in an abandoned Toronto subway station, down three long flights of stairs where Magoffin and the band had to wait until the wee hours of the morning for the trains to stop overhead before they could hit the record button.
Don’t miss your chance to see Tony Dekker up close, acoustic, and intimate as part of Inside The Music.