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Featuring a blend of acoustic instruments, rural soundscapes, and wistful vocals, Great Lake Swimmers are a critically acclaimed indie-folk group led by songwriter/vocalist Tony Dekker. Based in Toronto, Ontario, the group emerged in the early 2000s with a succession of heavily atmospheric albums recorded in old silos and rural country churches. The music developed in that pastoral warmth, performed and recorded in acoustically unique and historical locales with a revolving cast of personnel. They are renowned for their homespun folk and lush, intimate Americana in their live set.

Great Lake Swimmers celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2023 with “Uncertain Country,” an album where doubts are followed by discovery, demos end up as finished tracks, and themes of new beginnings, rear-view reflections, and ruminations on the fluidity of time form the basis of the eleven new songs.

It follows a prolonged period of collective anxiety. Recorded in different locales—and with a variety of musicians—a theme of questioning runs throughout. Even before the world turned upside down, Dekker felt mired in uncertainty: from the climate crisis to the ever-changing political landscape. The “uncertain country” chosen as the album’s theme is not a specific place. Rather, it’s a territory we, as humans, inhabit in the 21st century — a world that, more often than not, is confusing, unfamiliar and unsettling.

“Moonlight, Stay Above” epitomizes what Great Lake Swimmers represents. A 10-voice strong women’s choir (Niagara's Minuscule) lifts the lonely-sounding and wistful song up. As with that addition, the band on each album is fluid and always evolving.

Great Lake Swimmers were shortlisted for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize and nominated twice for Canada’s Juno Awards, with the CBC calling them “a national treasure.”


“A stunning variety of tones and textures… nothing less than both cerebral and sublime” – American Songwriter, 4/5

“It floats from country to folk to indie rock and back again, painting a sharp-toothed but achingly beautiful portrait of both the natural world and the human condition” – New Noise Magazine, Best Of 2023

“An ‘elsewhere’ where uncertainties and anxieties are often the most willing to make waves…Americana which strives to deal with traumas through padded atmospheres” – Rolling Stone France

“This collection of songs examines the passage of time masterfully… 'Uncertain Country' stands as some of the strongest & most consistent work by one of Canada’s best bands” – Great Dark Wonder 

“Dekker's preoccupation with the Canadian state of mind flourishes in his lyrics. Few songwriters are able to convey the country's harsh beauty as well. …Canadian folk tradition personified in the 21st century” – Exclaim!

 “Dekker has done a masterful job of finding that balance on The Waves, the Wake, which has enough connections to the past to satisfy long-time fans of Great Lake Swimmers even while the singer looks to the future and moves forward as an artist.” – The Georgia Straight

“A minimalist, atmospheric compendium of songs with a sonic environment the listener can easily get lost in.” – The Vue

“Ambient Zen Americana” - Mojo

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