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Tuesday, May 22

Review: Great Lake Swimmers - The Troubadour - LA,CA - 5/18/12

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Toronto musician Tony Dekker and his Great Lake Swimmers are about as masterful as it gets when it comes to creating a stunning musical vibe that somehow manages to dance gracefully between dreamy ambiance and all-encompassing, mind-cocooning indie-folk.  Judging by the crowd at the intimate Troubadour in West Hollywood Friday night, Dekker and his crew kept the vibe swaying in the latter category—hardly a pair of eyes blinked as people willingly surrendered to the gentle throbbing of Dekker’s voice. 
By: Doug Springer
The rest of the band effortlessly carried his languid (but piercingly insightful) vocals, allowing him space to create something powerful, while injecting their own country twang (Erik Arnesen on banjo and guitar), haunting harmonies (Miranda Mulholland—also contributing some vivacious violin), or diligent but understated heartbeats (Bret Higgins on upright bass, and Lost Channels drummer, Greg Millson).
By: Doug Springer
As the set unfolded the chemistry was palpable between the musicians as they smiled together, shared unspoken words, and just churned out downright irresistible music. Midway through the show, the band left Dekker on stage to sing a couple of acoustic numbers, one of them the somewhat upbeat “Still” off their 2009 album Lost Channels.  With no traditional chorus, the song propels itself forward, pushed by Dekker’s incessant strumming (which somehow echoes the lyrics themselves), evoking a sense of inertia or of open possibilities.  “I’m still swimming in harmony, I’m still dreaming of flight… / I’m still loaded and waiting, with anticipation to fly… / I'm still a note that's unplayed, ink on a page, I'm still, I'm still.” As the band trickled back on stage, they really seemed to gear up under the indirect challenge of the song, driving Dekker’s lyrics into reality as they took flight and soared through the rest of the show.  
The band is currently touring in support of their new album, New Wild Everywhere, which is their fifth album and a direct follow-up (thematically) to the highly acclaimed Lost Channels. Great Lake Swimmers are by no means a typical group of musicians, and the new album and current tour certainly speak to this fact, as listeners can experience the groups’ deep respect for, and ability to drive to new heights, the folk traditions that inspire them. 

Words: Elyssa Karanian
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