Formed in 2003 in the small Niagara-region town of Wainfleet, ON, Great Lake Swimmers are now based in Toronto, and are in the process of making quite the name for themselves. Built around the folk rock songs of lead singer-songwriter Tony Dekker, who is praised for his homespun lyrics and lush folksy sound, the band has been compared to some other music giants such as Neil Young, Iron & Wine, Nick Drake and Sufjan Stevens.
Since the release of their 2003 self-titled album, Great Lake Swimmers have been busy recording and releasing original music. They followed up in 2005 with Bodies and Minds, and in 2007 with Ongiara, which features Bob Egan on the steel pedal and dobro. Bob isn’t the only famous musical guest this band has worked with; they have also collaborated with the likes of Sarah Harmer, Owen Pallett, and Darcy Yates.
Since Ongiara – which was received warmly by critics – Great Lake Swimmers have released three more albums, including the highly praised Lost Channels (2009), which was shortlisted for the 2009 Polaris Prize, nominated for a Juno Award for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year – Group and up for a Canadian Folk Music Award.
With their audience growing and the award nominations piling up, it seems Great Lake Swimmers have come full-circle. As Tony Dekker observes, “[m]usic is interesting because it brings people together, and the more that I do this the more I realize the importance to that.”
Sources: AllMusic.com, Wikipedia