Great Lake Swimmers lead singer and songwriter Tony Dekker will release a solo album called PRAYER OF THE WOODS on October 8, 2013 on Nettwerk. The album, which Dekker refers to as a “musical interlude” between Great Lake Swimmers albums, is reminiscent of early GLS recordings in its quiet and intimate approach, and presents a stark portrait of a Canadian troubadour. Dekker has also announced a run of Canadian tour dates in conjunction with his solo effort, listed below.

Tony Dekker - Prayer of the Woods Album Cover

PRAYER OF THE WOODS was chronicled in two parts during June 2013 at the historic
St. Brendan’s Church
in Rockport, Ontario. It was recorded and mixed by Justin Nace, with additional overdubs and tracking at the House Of Miracles in July. All of the instruments and vocals were played and sung by Tony Dekker, including guitars, accordion, mandolin, piano, pump organ, Hammond B3, mellotron, harmonica, autoharp, and percussion. It was mastered at the new House Of Miracles by Andy Magoffin, now located in Cambridge, Ontario.

Upon listening to PRAYER OF THE WOODS, listeners will find songs of geographical reference (“Somewhere Near Thunder Bay”), contemplations of mortality (“Final Song”), finding spirituality in the natural world (“Prayer Of The Woods”), and ongoing existential crisis (“Hearing Voices”). There are also new interpretations of a couple of classics: “Land Of The Glass Pinecones” and “Carefree Highway.” The title track is based on an anonymous poem of Portuguese origin that has become known in forest reserves throughout North America.

As the principle songwriter for Great Lake Swimmers, Tony Dekker was nominated for two Juno Awards, has won two Canadian Independent Music Awards for the albums Lost Channels (2009) and Self-titled (2003), was short-listed for the Polaris Prize (Lost Channels) and long-listed for New Wild Everywhere. Great Lake Swimmers was hand picked to open concerts by Robert Plant, Jeff Tweedy and Feist among others, and has been called “a national treasure” by the CBC. Notable television and film soundtracks include the series Weeds and American Idol (“Your Rocky Spine”), as well as original soundtracks composed for the 2008 documentary Song Sung Blue and the e-Book One In A Thousand.

Great Lake Swimmers are preparing to release a new studio album in 2014.


1. On My Way Back
2. Somewhere Near Thunder Bay
3. Final Song
4. Empty Arms
5. Prayer Of The Woods
6. Hearing Voices
7. Under A Magician’s Sky
8. Land Of The Glass Pinecones
9. Talking In Your Sleep
10. Carefree Highway

Tony Dekker Tour Dates:

Thu, September 26 – North Bay ON @ Voyager Inn
Fri, September 27 – Sault Ste. Marie ON @ Cafe Nutura
Sat, September 28 – Thunder Bay ON @ Finlandia Hall
Sun, September 29 – Winnipeg MB @ Folk Exchange
Tues, October 1 – Bruno SK @ The Bruno Arts Bank
Wed, October 2 – Regina SK @ The Artful Dodger Café
Fri, October 4 – Canmore AB @ Communitea Café
Mon, October 7 – Kelowna BC @ Streaming Café
Tues, October 8 – Vancouver BC @ Chapel Arts
Wed, October 9 – Vancouver BC @ Chapel Arts
Sat, October 12 – Slocan BC @ Little Slocan Lodge
Sun, October 13 – Kimberley BC @ Driftwood Concert House
Wed, October 16 – Saskatoon SK @ The Bassment
Mon, October 21 – Sharbot Lake ON @ Sharbot Lake Country Inn
Tues, October 22 – Wakefield QC @ Black Sheep Inn
Thu, October 24 – Montreal QC @ Le Cagibi
Sat, October 26 – Halifax NS @ St. Matthew’s United Church – HALIFAX POP EXPLOSION
Sun, October 27 – Miramichi NB @ The Miramichi’s Home Concert

Celebrating 25 Years with Great Lake Swimmer Vicki Keith & Getting Their Blues On In Kitchener!

Great Lake Swimmers have added a couple more shows to their summer schedule, including a benefit concert for the YMCA of Kingston recognizing the 25th anniversary of Vicki Keith’s major swims on each of Canada’s five Great Lakes in 1988, as well as a concert in Kitchener with Elliott Brood:

June 15 – Kingston, ON @ The Island Queen for ‘Vicki Keith’s Great Lake Swim 25th Anniversary Celebration’

August 11 – Kitchener, ON @ Kitchener Blues Festival

— Check out the SHOWS tab for more details.

JUNOS in REGINA & Announcing Shows in Port Dover and Niagara On The Lake!

We had an awesome time in Regina and we’d like to congratulate our friends
Elliott Brood on their first JUNO win.

GLS - Red Carpet Junos 2013 (800x530) (640x424)

Great Lake Swimmers on the Red Carpet – Photo: Arthur Ward / Carillon

We are also happy to announce a few more special shows we are playing this August in Ontario along with a number of truly talented bands.

August 17 – Port Dover, ON @ Silver Lake Roots Music Festival
with The Sadies, Tia McGraff, Duane Rutter & NorFolk

August 31 – Niagara On The Lake, ON @ Jackson – Triggs Amphitheatre
with Elliott Brood

Great Lake Swimmers @ The JUNOS

Receiving a JUNO nomination for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Group for their latest album NEW WILD EVERYWHERE, Great Lake Swimmers have added a few more performances in Regina.

April 19 – Outlaws & Gunslingers @ The Exchange
April 20 – The Neighbors Dog Session – check link for free tickets
April 20 – JunoFest @ Artesian on 13th, with The Barr Brothers, Andy Shauf & Rueben and the Dark

Outlaws & Gunslingers Poster (518x800)

Great Lake Swimmers Announce Summer Shows

April 20 – Regina, SK @ JunoFest – Artesian on 13th

June 6 & 7 – Bayfield, ON @ Old Town Hall
June 14 – Brockville, ON @ TALL SHIPS 1812 Festival
June 22 – Ottawa, ON @ Dragon Boat Festival
July 19 & 20 – London, ON @ Home County Festival
August 3, 4, 5 – Canmore, AB @ Canmore Folk Festival

Check the show page for advance ticket links and more details.


Ten years ago today the debut, self-titled Great Lake Swimmers album was released into the world via the (weewerk) record label and art salon. Though the recording began in the summer of 2001, the album finally found a home through (weewerk), the tiny Toronto indie label that could, in March of 2003.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a whole decade of touring, making new friends, and continuing the musical conversation. Thanks to everyone who has helped us out along the way & especially to Phil Klygo for holding down the fort in his role as manager.

Here’s to another ten!


New Videos!

The Great Exhale:

To capture the tone of the song for a video, the group worked with director Christopher Mills, who shot exteriors in different parts of Toronto and captured the band in front of a green screen so he could juxtapose them with illustrations and treatments that evoked the feeling behind the song.

“I found the song to be really haunting and beautiful, so the original concept for the video was based on a very loose idea of exploring empty, dissonant places, and to more of a visual essay that put ‘the music on the wind that passes through,’” Mills says. “The plan was to fill these spaces with these drawings, and ‘ghostly light and effects’ in ways that complimented the music.” He accomplished this with some help from French illustrator and producer Gaëlle Legrand and director-videographer Colin Medley, who found the graffiti-strewn walls that dance about in the video.

The Great Exhale - music video

Ballad of A Fisherman’s Wife:

“In August, Canada’s Juno nominated band “Great Lake Swimmers” visited McLellan Group’s ‘Eastern Office’ in the 1000 Islands. With a couple of great shooters, perfect weather, underwater cameras and the River’s funkiest barge, we created their official video for “Ballad of a Fisherman’s Wife” from their “New Wild Everywhere” album.”
– Doug McLellan

Ballad of A Fisherman's Wife - music video

Great Lake Swimmers Announced To Perform At HILLSIDE INSIDE!