Great Lake Swimmers' Tony Dekker (centre) is bring his act back to the Kootenays for a concert at the Nelson Civic Theatre on June 1.

Great Lake Swimmers return to Nelson

Civic Theatre concert on June 1 will feature revamped live show, sixth album Forest of Arms.

Great Lake Swimmers lead singer Tony Dekker believes if you line up their six albums side by side, you’ll be able to detect a subtle spiritual through-line that connects them all.

“You can see the progression, right up to the sixth album now, and draw a thematic line all the way through. A lot of it is about trying to approach a spirituality in the natural world, and having a respect for nature, but also recognizing the danger in it,” he said.

“I’m surveying landscapes both internal and external, tying together the emotional aspect of life and the physical aspect.”

This is something he explores in the new track “Zero in the City”, which has a recently released music video online. Dekker said he wrote it while living in urban drudgery, and feeling a little lost.

“It takes that idea of temperature-reading, like reading on scales what’s happening inside and simultaneously what’s happening in the city. I was feeling a sense of emptiness or incompleteness, and I tied that in with the weather reading.”

Dekker will perform the song live during his concert at the Civic Theatre on June 1. Having played at the Royal and Spiritbar in the past, he said he’s looking forward to filling a bigger venue.

“We’ve actually been stepping up a bit across Canada, in general. Our live show has become something that’s really important to us. It’s a really dynamic acoustic show. We’ve got upright bass, violin, banjo—even a little bit of tastefully played electric guitar.”

He said the new tracks have a bit of a folk feel, but not in the way most people expect.

“We’re more dreamy, looking to the poetic side of it. I think of us as very separate from that whole genre of stomp-your-boots kind of playing. We go for a sublime aspect, diving into nature.”

Dekker said though he appreciates the green spaces in his home city of Toronto, it’s when he gets out into “true wilderness” that he feels most alive. And that’s what he had in mind when he wrote crowd-favourite “Your Rocky Spine”, which he promised will be on the set-list during the Nelson concert.

“Toronto has a quite a bit of green space, but my inspiration zone is getting into Northern Ontario and into the real wild places. The Kootenays are wonderful for that. I had a chance to spend a little more time there during a solo tour I did a few years ago, traveling all cross Canada my wife and I. It’s just level after level of awesome across the Kootenays and the Rockies.”

Tickets are $25 and are available from the Nelson Civic Theatre. They will be performing with the Weather Station. Concert starts at 7 p.m.

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