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Great Lake Swimmers return to Lethbridge as trimmed down trio

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The Great Lake Swimmers return to Lethbridge in support of their new  EP “ Swimming Away,” with special guest Megan Bonnell, Nov. 7 at the Southminster United Church presented by the Geomatic Attic.The Great Lake Swimmers return to Lethbridge, Nov. 7. Photo by Richard Amery
The members of the Toronto based musical collective return to Lethbridge to play  an intimate, listening and storytelling show.
 L.A. Beat got the chance to e-mail frontman Tony Dekker a few questions about the tour and the many projects the band members are involved with.

Is the Lethbridge show full band or as the trio? Who's coming to play?
 Tony Dekker: We’ll be playing as a trio with myself on vocals and guitars, Erik Arnesen on banjo and guitars, and Bret Higgins on upright bass, mandolin, and keys. Also Megan Bonnell will be singing with us as well as opening the show.

Why is the Floating through the Forest Tour all Acoustic? What is it you enjoy most about playing your music acoustically?
Tony Dekker: Since we did a full Canadian tour last year as a full band, we wanted to come back and do something different this time around. We actually did a European tour this spring with the trio formation and it went really well, so we wanted to try it in Canada too. We’re a lot more nimble as a three piece and can take some pretty sharp turns in the set list if we want, and have been playing together for a long time now with a healthy back catalogue to draw upon. People seemed to be requesting some of our older, quieter songs really often, so we’re taking requests and playing a lot of the songs from the quieter side of the albums. It feels good to revisit and rework some of those songs and blend them in with some of the more current stuff.

How does the new EP “Swimming Away” differ from Great Lake Swimmers’ previous releases.  What has audience response been to it?

 Tony Dekker: It’s an interesting little collection of songs. The title track is actually an outtake from the A Forest Of Arms sessions and it was brought to completion but ultimately not used for the full length. So that makes this a sort of companion piece to it. The song ‘Condition White’ was written for an author series in Toronto hosted by Dave Bidini called ‘Torn From The Pages’ where musicians are commissioned to write songs inspired by the work of an author. In this case the work was the latest novel ‘Sleep’ by the acclaimed author Nino Ricci. This song and the two cover tracks were recorded at a studio in New Orleans. We have been covering the song ‘Innocent When You Dream’ for many years and I thought to finally get a studio version down.

From that same session was the beautiful PJ Harvey song, ‘The Desperate Kingdom of Love.’ The songs seemed to sit well together so we released them as a digital only EP.

Is there a theme throughout all four songs?
  Tony Dekker: Not really, no. It’s more about the feel of them. They seem to exist within a very similar zone.

What are you working on next?
 Tony Dekker: I’m currently in a writing mode for the next full length album. We’ll hopefully start working on it in the new year.

Miranda Mulholand played on Trevor Alguire’s new disc. What other projects are the other band members part of? You released a solo CD not long ago, what was audience response to it? Are some of the songs included in the Great Lake Swimmers set?

 Tony Dekker: Many of the band members have multiple projects going on concurrently. Our bass player Bret for example has a jazz project called Atlas Revolt that released an album this year that is making some waves in that world. I see the Prayer of the Woods solo record as an interlude between New Wild Everywhere and A Forest Of Arms. It was a group of songs that I had started demoing and felt like they didn’t really need anything added to them. We are actually playing one or two songs from it with the acoustic Great Lake Swimmers trio though. It fits in with what we’re doing on this tour.

Megan Bonnell is opening. Is she going to play a song or two with the band? How do you know her?

Tony Dekker: Megan will be singing some songs with the band as well as opening. We know her through our regular drummer Josh Van Tassel, who produced her most recent album. She is an amazing new voice in the Canadian singer/songwriter landscape and can’t recommend her enough.

What will people be hearing when you come here this time?

 Tony Dekker:We’re lucky to have Megan Bonnell joining us on vocals for part of the set. And we are taking requests and playing songs from our back catalogue as well as from our more recent releases. But it’ll be all acoustic and I would describe it as more of a story-telling and listening set.

What's your favourite Lethbridge show memory.
Tony Dekker: Every time we come to Lethbridge it’s memorable. Our sound is really conducive to acoustic spaces and Southminster United is wonderfully designed for that. It’s going to sound really special in there.
Tickets for the Nov. 7 show cost $35 in advance; $37.50 online  $40 at the door. The show begins at 8 p.m.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 01 November 2016 14:20 )  
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