Toronto-based Great Lake Swimmers make their Carleton debut with three shows on Sunday, December 13th, Monday, December 14th and Tuesday, December 15th. Show time each night is 8 PM and tickets are $25 advanced or $30 at the door. This well-respected band is a natural for our stage and we welcome them with open arms!
Northampton, Mass. duo Winterpills has just been added to the line-up and will open the shows.
Here’s the bio skinny…
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.”
Since their first album came out in 2005, Winterpills have been slowly tugging on ears with their fragile-but-dangerous chamber-pop songs that The Washington Post called “densely packed but hugely evocative, tiny bombs of feeling and meaning… fiendishly melodic.” From the group’s origins one cold winter in 2004 as a song circle for heartache, the band has truly blossomed, releasing three full-length albums — the eponymous debut in 2005, The Light Divides in 2007 and Central Chambers in 2008 — and the 2010 E.P. Tuxedo of Ashes, which The New York Times Jon Pareles praised for “elegant arrangements” of “songs that stay haunted.”
2012’s All My Lovely Goners embraced the hushed vocal harmonies and graceful chamber-pop sound the group has made its trademark, while pushing the quintet into new sonic realms. MOJO magazine included the album in their 2012 top 10 Americana list. In October, 2014, Winterpills released their 5th full-length, the archival cover’s project Echolalia.
“I don’t know why Winterpills aren’t one of the most cherished pop bands in the world: Their songs are mournful, slow-exploding and lyrically dazzling, and their albums have a coherence that’s rare.” – Jonathan Lethem, Rolling Stone, 2013.
The Winterpills duo is Philip Price and Flora Reed.