Great Lake Swimmers to perform at The Festival Of Small Halls in May 2022

Live dates added on May 13th, 14th, and 20th

Great Lake Swimmers are proud to be part of The Festival Of Small Halls coming up in May 2022. Three shows are scheduled in small halls across Eastern Ontario:

May 13, 2022 – Manotick United Church, Manotick ON

May 14, 2022 – St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Prescott ON

May 20, 2022 – Elgin United Church, Elgin ON

More information at

We hope to see you there!


We’re excited to announce a new series of shows for 2022. More announcements and updates coming soon.

April 23, 2022 – Lion’s Head, ON @ Lion’s Head Rotary Hall (Rescheduled from Dec. 18th).

May 13, 2022 – Manotick, ON @ Manotick United Church

May 14, 2022 – Prescott, ON @ St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

May 20, 2022 – Elgin, ON @ Elgin United Church

June 24, 2022 – Prince Edward County, ON @ The Hayloft Dancehall. Ticket info:

July 31, 2022 – Mulhurst Bay, AB @ Pigeon Lake Music Festival. Ticket info:

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New Show Announcement: Nov. 27, 2021 in Hamilton, ON

Photo by Ranna Asha

Great Lake Swimmers are thrilled to announce their first indoor, full-band show in over a year. On Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 the band will play the Winter Wander festival in the Westdale Village neighbourhood of Hamilton, Ontario at The Westdale Theatre. Show time is 6:00pm.

Ticket info:

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for entry. Effective October 9, 2021, capacity limits were lifted to allow 100 percent capacity in The Westdale as per provincial government regulations.

Check out our behind-the-scenes video making the song ‘Unmaking The Bed:’

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Great Lake Swimmers will make their 2021 debut headlining the Seaway Valley Folk Festival on July 24th in Morrisburg, Ontario (near Ottawa) at the picturesque Stone Crop Acres Winery and Vineyard along the St. Lawrence River. Tickets and info at:

Also just announced, Great Lake Swimmers will be performing at River Road Brewing in Bayfield, Ontario on Sept. 5th, 2021. Details are at:

July 24, 2021 – Morrisburg, ON @ Seaway Valley Folk Festival
Sept. 5, 2021 – Bayfield, ON @ River Road Brewing & Hops



Great Lake Swimmers – Live At The Redeemer – Photo by Frank Yang

On May 14, Great Lake Swimmers will release the recording of their performance at Toronto’s Church Of The Redeemer on vinyl and digital platforms via (weewerk). The concert capped off the band’s Canadian spring tour of 2007, just days before the group continued on to embark on a full European tour to support the newly released album Ongiara. It was recorded for CBC Radio broadcast by producer and engineer Ron Skinner, with live sound mixed by Andy Magoffin, who also mixed and mastered the recording for this release. The album is notable not only for the grand acoustics of the church, but for the raw first impressions of songs that would become fan favourites, as well as notable guest appearances by Basia Bulat (backing vocals), Owen Pallett (violin), and Bob Egan (pedal steel) in addition to the band’s core lineup. The live set is comprised of songs from the first three Great Lake Swimmers albums; Self-titled (2003), Bodies And Minds (2005), and Ongiara (2007). Live At The Redeemer 2007 will be available on Bandcamp beginning May 7.

Today, audiences can listen to “Your Rocky Spine” from the album. “This version of ‘Your Rocky Spine’ is especially poignant because it was the first time it was played in front of a Toronto audience,” says songwriter Tony Dekker. “It features a guest appearance on backing vocals by Basia Bulat, and would go on to become one of our most well-known songs. As the first song on the album, it was also placed first in the set list, and opened the concert, which took place in the acoustically stunning Church Of The Redeemer.”

Listen here:


01 Your Rocky Spine (Live)
02 Backstage With The Modern Dancers (Live)
03 Various Stages (Live)
04 Bodies And Minds (Live)
05 Put There By The Land (Live)
06 I Am Part Of A Large Family (Live)
07 Changing Colours (Live)
08 Moving Pictures Silent Films (Live)
09 There Is A Light (Live)
10 Let’s Trade Skins (Live)
11 I Will Never See The Sun (Live)
12 Passenger Song (Live)
13 Where In The World Are You (Live)
14 Song For The Angels (Live)
15 I Became Awake (Live)
16 Imaginary Bars (Live)

Great Lake Swimmers Perform at CityFolk Festival’s 2020 Virtual Edition; Aeolian Hall’s Phoenix Sessions

There are a few places to see the group perform live online this month, November 2020.

The first is this evening, Nov. 13th at 7:30pm EST, with a special acoustic trio version of the band in the beautiful Aeolian Hall for their Phoenix Sessions. No audience, but the Hall’s grand piano played by keyboardist Kelsey McNulty and upright bass courtesy of Bret Higgins, along with the acoustically dynamic Hall itself. It includes an in-depth interview with the Aeolian’s Clark Bryan. As some may know, Great Lake Swimmers’ history runs deep with the Aeolian, going back to the recording of 2007’s Ongiara there. See details in the flyer for ticket information, and at

The second is coming up on Nov. 28th for CityFolk Festival’s 2020 virtual edition. We’re excited to be part of this lineup and our performance features a full five-piece ensemble of Great Lake Swimmers in front of a socially-distanced, fully-masked audience at the wonderful Almonte Old Town Hall in Almonte, Ontario. Tickets are now available for the online broadcast which will include performances by Jason Isbell, Tim Baker, The Abrams, Tom Wilson, Ben Caplan, Nambi, and Johnny Shay. This was an intensely moving performance as it was the first time our group has played together in over 7 months. More details can be found at; we hope you’re able to join us online.

Also, a special thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s Bandcamp Friday. Orders have gone out this week. In case you missed it, our full catalogue of LPs, CDs, and digital downloads is available on Bandcamp at, including an exclusive album of cover songs, “When We Last Shook Hands: Cover Songs Volume 1” collected from the bands performances over the last 15 years.

Great Lake Swimmers At The Festival Of Small Halls, October 25th

Great Lake Swimmers are very excited to be part of a re-imagined Festival of Small Halls next month. On October 25 they’ll be playing at Manotick United Church (near Ottawa, Ontario) with limited, distanced seating. All health guidelines and precautions will be followed. Tickets go on sale today (Sept. 24th) at 10:00am EST. Info at:

New Covers Album on Bandcamp June 5th When We Last Shook Hands: Cover Songs Volume 1; Live Concert Stream on June 14th

We’re proud to announce a new album of cover songs released today (June 5th) exclusively on Bandcamp. (Link:

When We Last Shook Hands: Cover Songs Volume 1 is a collection of covers recorded by Great Lake Swimmers over a period of about 12 years, between 2007-2019. Most of the songs have been released in one form or another as part of compilations, live sessions, or album bonus tracks, but there are also a handful of songs that are just now seeing the light of day, including the lead track, “Come A Long Way,” written by Kate McGarrigle. They are gathered together here for the first time.

The recordings are from such disparate sources as Studio 101 in New Orleans, Mailmen Studios in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and locations closer to home like The House Of Miracles in Ontario, Canada. We feel that they’ve come together as a cohesive whole despite their differences in time, space, and iterations of the band.

The project was overseen by long-time collaborator Andy Magoffin, who mastered the album and sonically brought it together. The cover artwork was created by Adam CK Vollick.

Track list:
01 Come A Long Way (Kate McGarrigle)
02 Dublin Blues (Guy Clark)
03 Before They Make Me Run (The Rolling Stones)
04 What Was Going Through My Head (The Grapes Of Wrath)
05 The Storms Are On The Ocean (The Carter Family)
06 Don’t Cry No Tears (Neil Young)
07 Willow Tree (Chad Vangaalen)
08 The Things That People Make, Part 3 (The Burning Hell) 
09 The Dark Don’t Hide It (Magnolia Electric Co.)
10 It Keeps Me Up (Museum Pieces)
11 The Desperate Kingdom Of Love (PJ Harvey)
12 You Know More Than I Know (John Cale)
13 My Sweet Relief (Martin Tielli)
14 Innocent When You Dream (Tom Waits)

We are acutely aware of the unrest happening in the world right now, especially in the United States, and join with many in outrage and protest. Partial proceeds from the sale of this album today and on June 19th will be donated to Black Lives Matter – Toronto.

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Tony Dekker Live Stream on June 14th

On Sunday June 14th Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers will be streaming a live set as part of #NiagaraPerforms in association with the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Mark your calendar and tune in at 4pm EST on Facebook (, Youtube (, or the Performing Arts Centre website ( This is a free event.

New Live Album On Bandcamp: “Live In Ottawa at The 27 Club 2019-10-03 & Split 7″ / 45 RPM Single with Picastro

The artist-friendly music platform Bandcamp is waiving its revenue share today, Friday May 1st, to help support artists who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of that, we’re releasing a live set from our show last fall in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada’s capital city) exclusively on our Bandcamp site to stream or purchase for the next four weeks:
We miss the live music experience as much as you probably do, so hopefully this is an alternative that you can enjoy from the comfort and safety of your own home. It is a fan recording, and although it has some audio inconsistencies, we think it makes up in performance and spirit what it might lack in technical fidelity. That’s a big part of what we like about live music to begin with. Checking out music on Bandcamp, especially today, is a great way to support the music and musicians that you love in these times.

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Split 7″ / 45 RPM Single with Picastro

The April solo acoustic tour of Europe with Liz Hysen of Toronto band Picastro has unfortunately been postponed due to the pandemic. The intention of the tour was to perform the scaled back, minimalist songs from “The Waves, The Wake (Acoustic)” and some of the collaborative tracks from Picastro’s excellent new record, “Exit.” We also pressed a 7″ record of new songs for the tour, “Getting To The Heart Of It” by Great Lake Swimmers and Picastro’s “Where Are You” with “Thursday.” With the tour on hold (for now), a limited number of the 45 RPM singles are available for mailorder and can be found at
Pressed to translucent purple vinyl, they also feature stunning cover images by artists Kristan Klimczak and Adam CK Vollick.

Great Lake Swimmers Live at the Webber Academy Performing Arts Center in Calgary for the Stampede City Sessions (Video)

One of our last shows before the pandemic took hold happened in Calgary, Alberta at the Webber Academy Performing Arts Center, for the Stampede City Sessions. We’ve posted the full concert to our Youtube channel:
Thanks to the Webber Academy and ATB Financial for having us in and for this beautifully filmed concert.

As always, your support and kind ears are very much appreciated, and we hope to see you when the venues open up again.

European Solo Tour Postponed

We regret to announce that the European solo acoustic tour with Liz Hysen of Picastro has been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We hope to reschedule for the near future. Like many of our peers who have also had to cancel tour dates, this has dealt a huge economical and emotional blow to everyone involved. If you are inclined, check out our shop which is carrying our latest LPs, and will soon stock the limited Great Lake Swimmers/Picastro split 7″ tour exclusive that was meant to accompany us on this trip. Thanks for your support and understanding and we hope to see you down the road soon