Great Lake Swimmers is an indie folk band which formed in 2003 in Wainfleet, Ontario, Canada. The band currently consists of Tony Dekker (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Erik Arneson (banjo, guitar, harmonium), Bret Higgens (bass), Julie Fader (keyboards, vocals) and Greg Millson (drums).
Fifty-five years ago, Marilyn Bell took a plunge and traversed Lake Ontario. Back then, being a Great Lake swimmer was a big deal; now, it’s an astonishing physical feat taken for granted. It’s a rapidly forgotten part of history, like a faded map or a tattered photograph. Or a lost channel.
Tony Dekker’s Great Lake Swimmers have spent the past seven years performing on stages around the world—though, like Bell, they should never be taken for granted. LOST CHANNELS, their fourth album set for release on March 31st, finds them once again recording at historic locations. This time in the Thousand Islands region of Ontario and New York state, telling tales of hidden histories, still “mining for light in the dark wells,” still “tuned to an instrument of greater and unknown design.”
The instrument in question is the singular voice of Tony Dekker, a voice that summons ghosts from times past. It’s a voice that is capable of conveying heartache and comfort all in the space of a single phrase. Though his supporting cast has changed over the years—with the exception of longtime right-hand man Erik Arnesen — Dekker has always encircled him self with sympathetic players who value spacious arrangements that frame his vocals.