The great lake swimmers
“We were expecting maybe some sort of street party, with a smaller stage.…but it was a big deal with so many people coming out… we were just blown out of the water,” said lead singer Tony Dekker.
Throughout the concert, the band (composed of Dekker, Erik Arnesen on banjo and guitar, back-up singer Miranda Mulholland, Bret Higgins on upright bass and drummer Greg Millson) played several songs from their brand-new album New Wild Everywhere. Mulholland captured the audience’s attention with her passionate and spirited playing in “Easy Come Easy Go” and “Great Exhale.” The concert was a testament to Dekker’s belief that the band had matured; it was certainly clear that the band had coalesced and developed a holistic and full sound.
New Wild Everywhere is the first studio-produced album for the GLS. Another big difference was the addition of Mulholland on back-up vocals and violin. Dekker described the natural inclination to bring Miranda on board following her successful run with them during the Lost Channels tour. Her fiery presence was a constant source of energy throughout the concert
“She adds a lot of flavour and has a lot of experience under her belt. She has a great sense of style and playing, having played [violin] for years now,” Dekker said.
As a long-time fan of the GLS, I have found that there is no other band that has so poetically and beautifully woven ecological metaphors to describe our daily social relations. “ Your Rocky Spine” and “Changing Colours” are two examples that take the physical natural landscape and transpose it to apply to the concrete parts of human behavior and appearance. I asked Dekker about how ecology shapes his daily life and what environmental issues he believed were paramount.
He said, “I’m currently part of a campaign for preserving the Great Bear Rainforest, near the Haida Gwaii region in BC. They are talking of putting extensive pipelines under the area… I agree with the [idea of] possessing the environment to appreciate it and I don’t want to get overtly preaching in our music…but there could be huge damage done to an area which deserves to be protected.”
What struck me was how important the environment is to both the GLS and Dekker himself, yet he made it clear that it should not overtake the importance of the band’s sound. We discussed the continued success of the GLS and folk music in general, which Dekker described as, “[something] that will always be deeply seeded in our culture in Canada.”
While their concert on Sept. 19 wowed long-time fans like myself who felt that seeing them live truly captured the depth of the GLS, they certainly impressed the people standing around me who had no prior knowledge of them. Dekker noted that as the band continues to refine their sound, it has been amazing to find an ever-expanding audience, reaching more people even within Canada.
Aissa Boodhoo-Leegsma, Senior News Editor