A break from vacation

The Great Lake Swimmers aren’t touring, but they’ll make an exception for the Wolfe Island Music Festival this weekend.

“It’s a bit of a homecoming,” said lead vocalist Tony Dekker, who spent time in the Kingston area recording the band’s 2009 album Lost Channels.

“We’re on a bit of touring break right now but I really wanted to take time out when we were asked to play Wolfe Island because of how special it is.”

You’d think Dekker would be boastful about personal endorsements from Lance Armstrong and Feist plus a top spot on an iTunes chart. He’s not. The musician from Wainfleet, Ontario doesn’t own a TV and didn’t check out a Honda commercial featuring his music until it was online.

Dekker, who plays acoustic guitar and harmonica, wrote and recorded songs in his hometown before moving to Toronto and forming Great Lake Swimmers.

“I kind of feel like the line-up of the band is a pretty fluid thing and there are still friends who come in and out and play with us sometimes,” he said. “It can be tough, people move on to other things, people move onto their own projects or decide to have kids or something,” Dekker said of his changing band mates.

The folk-indie scene has become inundated with musicians as of late, but Dekker said the Great Lake Swimmers focus on storytelling and lyrical insight has prevented them from becoming a quick “music of the month” fad.

Part of what sets the band apart is recording their albums in unconventional environments like abandoned grain silos, community halls and old churches.

“It treats the whole process with a lot more reverence, a reverence to the process.”


Great Lake Swimmers will play tonight at the Town Hall Concert at 8:30 p.m. on Wolfe Island.

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