Friday, February 7 – Guelph, ON @ River Run Center ‘Fab 5 Cabaret’
Doors at 7:00pm, Tickets: $25.00 – ALL AGES

Hillside Inside kicks off with a warm embrace of the four other festivals in Guelph and area that comprise the “Fab 5”: the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival, the Guelph Jazz Festival, and the Festival of Moving Media. Performances by Tony Dekker (of Great Lake Swimmers), the stunning Portal Dance Projects’ troupe, as well as a film from the Festival of Moving Media, with a live soundtrack being created on stage by GUH.

A little like a Valentine’s Day chocolate box, the cabaret will allow the audience to sample the flavour of each festival, offering a sensual indulgence and opportunity to expand one’s artistic experiences. With thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, a major funder of this project, to the Downtown Guelph Business Association and to Guelph Tourism.”


Friday, January 24th, 2014 at HELICONIAN HALL (Located at 35 Hazelton Avenue)

Two very intimate solo performances by Tony Dekker (of Great Lake Swimmers) with special appearances by musical friends, in this historic Gothic board-and-batten hall in the heart of Yorkville, built in 1875 in what was then rural Toronto. The performances will start promptly at 7:30 and 10:00 pm. The events are fully seated, with seating on a first-come first-served basis.

Tickets on sale Friday, November 15th at 10:00 AM

Early show, Doors at 7:00 PM –

Late show, Doors at 9:30 PM –

or Call 1-888-222-6608 to charge by phone, Tickets (incl. HST) $20.00 (plus service charges)

Both shows are All Ages / General Admission


Great Lake Swimmers front man Tony Dekker will be returning to Europe this November to celebrate the release of his solo album ‘Prayer Of The Woods’.

Tony Dekker

The record will be released in Europe by Nettwerk on November 18th, and Exclaim just debut the video for the title track, you can view it here:

The song is a soft, meditative folk ballad about the forest, and the clip appropriately finds the singer strumming his guitar while surrounded by trees. It was filmed north of Toronto at the Glen Haffy Conservation Area; the Bruce Trail runs through this area, and at this point, there’s a hand-carved sign inscribed with the anonymous poem “Prayer of the Woods.” The poem, which is of Portuguese origin and has spread to North America, provides the lyrical underpinning for this song. The video was directed by Great Lake Swimmers’ Erik Arnesen

Dekker will be joined on tour by Dead Oceans label artist Califone who also have a new release out.

Confirmed tour dates so far:
November 9 – Prague (CZ) @ Pilot Club *
November 10 – Berlin (D) @ Urban Spree Galerie *
November 12 – Gothenburg (S) @ Pustervik *
November 13 – Stockholm (S) @ Debaser *
November 14 – Stavanger (N) @ Folken *
November 16 – Ottersum (NL) @ Roepaen *
November 18 – Newcastle (UK) @ The Cluny*
November 19 – Manchester (UK) @ Roadhouse *
November 20 – Leeds (UK) @ Belgrave Music Hall *
November 21 – Dublin (EIR) @ Whelan’s *
November 22 – Coventry (UK) @ The Tin at The Coal Vaults *
November 25 – London (UK) @ Lexington *
November 26 – Bristol (UK) @ St. Bonaventures *
November 27 – Aachen (D) @ Musicbunker *
November 28 – Diksmuide (B) @ 4AD
November 30 – Utrecht (NL) @ Le Mini Who? – Noon time show
November 30 – Brussels (B) @ Klein Mercelis Theater – “Autumn Falls Festival”
December 1 – Schorndorf (D) @ Club Manufaktur *
December 2 – St Gallen (CH) @ Palace *
December 3 – Zurich (CH) @ Exil Club *

* with Califone


Great Lake Swimmers lead singer and songwriter Tony Dekker will release a solo album called PRAYER OF THE WOODS on October 8, 2013 on Nettwerk. The album, which Dekker refers to as a “musical interlude” between Great Lake Swimmers albums, is reminiscent of early GLS recordings in its quiet and intimate approach, and presents a stark portrait of a Canadian troubadour. Dekker has also announced a run of Canadian tour dates in conjunction with his solo effort, listed below.

Tony Dekker - Prayer of the Woods Album Cover

PRAYER OF THE WOODS was chronicled in two parts during June 2013 at the historic
St. Brendan’s Church
in Rockport, Ontario. It was recorded and mixed by Justin Nace, with additional overdubs and tracking at the House Of Miracles in July. All of the instruments and vocals were played and sung by Tony Dekker, including guitars, accordion, mandolin, piano, pump organ, Hammond B3, mellotron, harmonica, autoharp, and percussion. It was mastered at the new House Of Miracles by Andy Magoffin, now located in Cambridge, Ontario.

Upon listening to PRAYER OF THE WOODS, listeners will find songs of geographical reference (“Somewhere Near Thunder Bay”), contemplations of mortality (“Final Song”), finding spirituality in the natural world (“Prayer Of The Woods”), and ongoing existential crisis (“Hearing Voices”). There are also new interpretations of a couple of classics: “Land Of The Glass Pinecones” and “Carefree Highway.” The title track is based on an anonymous poem of Portuguese origin that has become known in forest reserves throughout North America.

As the principle songwriter for Great Lake Swimmers, Tony Dekker was nominated for two Juno Awards, has won two Canadian Independent Music Awards for the albums Lost Channels (2009) and Self-titled (2003), was short-listed for the Polaris Prize (Lost Channels) and long-listed for New Wild Everywhere. Great Lake Swimmers was hand picked to open concerts by Robert Plant, Jeff Tweedy and Feist among others, and has been called “a national treasure” by the CBC. Notable television and film soundtracks include the series Weeds and American Idol (“Your Rocky Spine”), as well as original soundtracks composed for the 2008 documentary Song Sung Blue and the e-Book One In A Thousand.

Great Lake Swimmers are preparing to release a new studio album in 2014.


1. On My Way Back
2. Somewhere Near Thunder Bay
3. Final Song
4. Empty Arms
5. Prayer Of The Woods
6. Hearing Voices
7. Under A Magician’s Sky
8. Land Of The Glass Pinecones
9. Talking In Your Sleep
10. Carefree Highway

Tony Dekker Tour Dates:

Thu, September 26 – North Bay ON @ Voyager Inn
Fri, September 27 – Sault Ste. Marie ON @ Cafe Nutura
Sat, September 28 – Thunder Bay ON @ Finlandia Hall
Sun, September 29 – Winnipeg MB @ Folk Exchange
Tues, October 1 – Bruno SK @ The Bruno Arts Bank
Wed, October 2 – Regina SK @ The Artful Dodger Café
Fri, October 4 – Canmore AB @ Communitea Café
Mon, October 7 – Kelowna BC @ Streaming Café
Tues, October 8 – Vancouver BC @ Chapel Arts
Wed, October 9 – Vancouver BC @ Chapel Arts
Sat, October 12 – Slocan BC @ Little Slocan Lodge
Sun, October 13 – Kimberley BC @ Driftwood Concert House
Wed, October 16 – Saskatoon SK @ The Bassment
Mon, October 21 – Sharbot Lake ON @ Sharbot Lake Country Inn
Tues, October 22 – Wakefield QC @ Black Sheep Inn
Thu, October 24 – Montreal QC @ Le Cagibi
Sat, October 26 – Halifax NS @ St. Matthew’s United Church – HALIFAX POP EXPLOSION
Sun, October 27 – Miramichi NB @ The Miramichi’s Home Concert

Celebrating 25 Years with Great Lake Swimmer Vicki Keith & Getting Their Blues On In Kitchener!

Great Lake Swimmers have added a couple more shows to their summer schedule, including a benefit concert for the YMCA of Kingston recognizing the 25th anniversary of Vicki Keith’s major swims on each of Canada’s five Great Lakes in 1988, as well as a concert in Kitchener with Elliott Brood:

June 15 – Kingston, ON @ The Island Queen for ‘Vicki Keith’s Great Lake Swim 25th Anniversary Celebration’

August 11 – Kitchener, ON @ Kitchener Blues Festival

— Check out the SHOWS tab for more details.

JUNOS in REGINA & Announcing Shows in Port Dover and Niagara On The Lake!

We had an awesome time in Regina and we’d like to congratulate our friends
Elliott Brood on their first JUNO win.

GLS - Red Carpet Junos 2013 (800x530) (640x424)

Great Lake Swimmers on the Red Carpet – Photo: Arthur Ward / Carillon

We are also happy to announce a few more special shows we are playing this August in Ontario along with a number of truly talented bands.

August 17 – Port Dover, ON @ Silver Lake Roots Music Festival
with The Sadies, Tia McGraff, Duane Rutter & NorFolk

August 31 – Niagara On The Lake, ON @ Jackson – Triggs Amphitheatre
with Elliott Brood

Great Lake Swimmers @ The JUNOS

Receiving a JUNO nomination for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Group for their latest album NEW WILD EVERYWHERE, Great Lake Swimmers have added a few more performances in Regina.

April 19 – Outlaws & Gunslingers @ The Exchange
April 20 – The Neighbors Dog Session – check link for free tickets
April 20 – JunoFest @ Artesian on 13th, with The Barr Brothers, Andy Shauf & Rueben and the Dark

Outlaws & Gunslingers Poster (518x800)

Great Lake Swimmers Announce Summer Shows

April 20 – Regina, SK @ JunoFest – Artesian on 13th

June 6 & 7 – Bayfield, ON @ Old Town Hall
June 14 – Brockville, ON @ TALL SHIPS 1812 Festival
June 22 – Ottawa, ON @ Dragon Boat Festival
July 19 & 20 – London, ON @ Home County Festival
August 3, 4, 5 – Canmore, AB @ Canmore Folk Festival

Check the show page for advance ticket links and more details.


Ten years ago today the debut, self-titled Great Lake Swimmers album was released into the world via the (weewerk) record label and art salon. Though the recording began in the summer of 2001, the album finally found a home through (weewerk), the tiny Toronto indie label that could, in March of 2003.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a whole decade of touring, making new friends, and continuing the musical conversation. Thanks to everyone who has helped us out along the way & especially to Phil Klygo for holding down the fort in his role as manager.

Here’s to another ten!