LOST ON THOUSAND ISLANDS Great Lake Swimmers

The Canadian combo explores a lost way of doing
things.

 

BY HAL
BIENSTOCK

 

As you
might surmise from their name, Canadian folkies Great Lake Swimmers have a keen
interest in diving into and exploring unusual locales. The band’s fourth album,
Lost Channels (Nettwerk), took shape
when a fan and historian invited the band to explore Canada’s
Thousand Islands region, which lies halfway between Toronto
and Montreal.
Rather than just seeing the sights, the band recorded in them, spending time in
a 28-room castle, an old church on a cliff and 100-year-old theater.

 

“For me,
the recording process is as important as the creative process,” says singer
Tony Dekker. “Recording in those places draws out a different kind of
performance than if you were in a regular studio. I’m trying to document a
place as much as a new group of songs.”

 

But
ultimately, it is about the songs and Lost
Channels
is as strong a batch as Dekker has ever recorded. The album finds Dekker
turning up the volume just a tiny bit-think Iron & Wine instead of Nick
Drake-and tightening his songwriting.

 

“For this
album, I think the band came together a little more and I was more focused on
collaborating and capturing the sound of us playing together,” Dekker says. “I
also had it in my mind that I would try to encapsulate an idea in a short
period of time. I was thinking about old groups like The Carter Family who only
had three minutes to express themselves in a song.”

 

Dekker
sees Lost Channels as a different way
of exploring the same questions he asked on his previous albums, namely how to
get at the truth about spirituality and nature. The album’s title refers to a
passage of the St. Lawrence River near where the band recorded. The channel is
famous because of a British reconnaissance boat that disappeared there in 1760.

 

To Dekker,
the lost channel symbolizes much more. “The title isn’t just about the actual
lost channel, but about a lost way of doing things.”

 

 

[Photo
Credit: Ilia Horsburgh]

 

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