|Great Lake Swimmers|
|A Forest of Arms|
Great Lake Swimmers — A Forest of Arms
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Album release: April 21, 2015
Record Label: Nettwerk
01. Something Like a Storm 3:16
02. Zero in the City 3:05
03. Shaking All Over 3:51
04. Don't Leave Me Hanging 3:13
05. One More Charge at the Red Cape 3:11
06. I Was a Wayward Pastel Bay 3:15
07. A Bird Flew Inside the House 2:48
08. A Jukebox in a Desert of Snow 3:40
09. I Must Have Someone Else's Blues 3:12
10. The Great Bear 4:18
11. With Every Departure 3:16
12. Expecting You 3:53
Cover Artwork: Katie Umhoefer
•• Tony Dekker (vocals, acoustic guitar)
•• Erik Arnesen (banjo, electric guitar)
•• Miranda Mulholland (backing vocals, violin)
•• Bret Higgins (upright bass)
•• Joshua Van Tassel (drums)
•• A Forest Of Arms is the sixth album from Tony Dekker’s Great Lake Swimmers and the follow up to 2012’s New Wild Everywhere. With a surging rhythm section, razor sharp violin, and flourishing banjo and guitars, Dekker and band mates have pushed their sound significantly, creating some of their most dynamic songs ever recorded.
•• Those familiar with the decade–long output of Great Lake Swimmers will recognize the thematic threads of beauty in the natural world, environmental issues and explorations of close personal ties that hold us together. The familiar versus the strange theme is also running through this record, both in the instrumentation and in the songwriting (“Zero In The City”, “I Was A Wayward Pastel Bay”).
•• As with past Great Lake Swimmers albums, A Forest Of Arms was recorded in several locations over the span of several months, covering extensive new territory while remaining true to the group’s refined sound. One of the unique and unusual locations was Tyendinaga Cavern and Caves in Tyendinaga, Ontario, where a number of the vocal and acoustic guitar tracks, including the main parts for “Don’t Leave Me Hanging,” “The Great Bear” and “With Every Departure,” were recorded amid haunting acoustics, stalactites, and circling bats.
•• The violins were recorded at the Heliconian Club of Toronto, while the bass and drum tracks were largely recorded at the Chalet Studio just outside of Toronto, a unique chalet-style recording space located on 40 acres of rolling hills and trails, in proximity to the shores of Lake Ontario. The pastoral and elemental nature of these spaces surfaces throughout the album.
•• The title, A Forest Of Arms, is taken from album track “The Great Bear,” a song inspired by a trip Dekker took to the northern rainforests of British Columbia in September 2013 with the World Wildlife Fund. It’s a pristine wilderness area that is under threat of being compromised by the construction of a pipeline, and Dekker and the group have been very vocal in their opposition to it. In a broader sense, the title is also a reference to the sense of community surrounding the Toronto–based band, as well as the band’s own growing families, exhibited in the songs “Something Like A Storm” and “Expecting You.”
•• Great Lake Swimmers consists of Tony Dekker on lead vocals and guitar, long time guitarist and banjo player Erik Arnesen, Miranda Mulholland on violin and backing vocals, Bret Higgins on upright bass and newcomer Joshua Van Tassel on drums. There are several special guest appearances on the album by Kevin Kane (Grapes Of Wrath) on 12–string electric guitar, as well as backing vocals on the song “A Bird Flew Inside The House.”
•• Recorded and engineered by their long time live sound technician Justin Shane Nace, and mixed by the wonderfully talented Howie Beck (Feist), A Forest Of Arms also marks Dekker’s 8th release of new material. In 2013, he released the solo album Prayer of the Woods, and in 2014, he released a tribute album for the artist–loving digital music distribution site Zunior on the occasion of its 10th year anniversary, entitled Tony Dekker Sings 10 Years Of Zunior. Last year saw their debut headlining performance at Toronto’s historic Massey Hall, which was documented for the Live At Massey Hall series. The band also participated in the Polaris cover sessions with their version of Sarah Harmer’s “I’m A Mountain.”
By Alex Hudson
Published Feb 03, 2015
•• Following 2013’s solo effort Prayer of the Woods, songwriter Tony Dekker is back to focusing on his Toronto folk rock ensemble Great Lake Swimmers. Their latest long–player is called A Forest of Arms, and it arrive on April 21 through Nettwerk Records.
•• Rather than recording in a dedicated session, Great Lake Swimmers made the album over a number of sessions in a scattering of locations. Curiously, some guitars and vocals were captured in the Tyendinaga Cavern and Caves in Tyendinaga, ON. This is a change from the band’s last album, 2012’s New Wild Everywhere, which was the first time they had recorded in a proper studio.
•• Dekker cited his experiences with the World Wildlife Fund, through which he witnessed the impact of the BP oil spill, as well as the Northern Gateway Pipeline controversy, as sources of inspiration for the band’s new songs.
•• “I’ve been incubating these songs and we’ll see how it goes. I am trying to work with a kind of concept or through line that incorporates my recent experiences,” Dekker said at the time. “I had a chance to visit this place [BC’s Great Bear region] and actually sailed from Kitimat down through these passageways seeing incredible wildlife — species that are indigenous to that area. If one tanker spilled, say the size of the Exxon Valdez, the entire area would be obliterated and so would a culture that has existed since the beginning of time.”
•• Kevin Kane of the Grapes of Wrath appears on the album. It was engineered by Justin Shane Nace and then mixed by Howie Beck.
EUROPE — Steven Thomassen / TOUPARTOUT — firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick’s website: www.nickwroblewski.com
Notes: Nick Wroblewski is a Midwest based printmaker specializing in hand cut wood block prints. He created the beautiful artwork that was used in the layout of “New Wild Everywhere”.
Here is the band’s first leg of their upcoming U.S. tour this spring:
April 29 — Burlington VT @ Signal Kitchen
April 30 — Northampton MA @ The Parlour
May 01 — Portsmouth NH @ The Music Hall
May 02 — Boston MA @ The Sinclair
May 04 — Brooklyn NY @ The Music Hall of Williamsburg
May 06 — Philadelphia PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
May 07 — Washington DC @ Rock n’ Roll Hotel
May 08 — Carrboro NC @ The Arts Centre
May 09 — Asheville NC @ The Grey Eagle
May 10 — Louisville KY @ Zanzabar
May 12 — Indianapolis IN @ The Hi-Fi
May 13 — Newport KY @ The Southgate House Revival
May 14 — Cleveland OH @ Beachland Tavern
May 15 — Detroit MI @ The Majestic Lounge
May 16 — Buffalo NY @ Tralf Music Hall
|Great Lake Swimmers|
|A Forest of Arms|