When Great Lake Swimmers began, the band was basically just Tony Dekker singing very quiet songs in a barn. (At least, it sounds like it was in a barn.) Very lovely, understated stuff. (Insert standard Nick Drake reference here.) Over the course of two more records, Great Lake Swimmers has developed into more of an actual band, though the focus is still very much on Dekker, his simple yet alluring melodies and evocative words and that beautiful tenor of his. Earlier this year, Great Lake Swimmers released a fine record called Ongiara, the sort of album that may not grab you by the lapels right away but will eventually grab you. It’s such a nice listen.
Great Lake Swimmers played a haunting little show Sunday (Oct. 28) at Schubas, enchanting from beginning to end. Dekker threw in a couple of cool covers, Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You” (how appropriate, given that Dekker’s a Canadian folkie) and Hank Williams’ “Angel of Death.”
The opening was Tiny Vipers, who played hushed and slow folk music. The crowd listened in utter quiet, and there was a palpable sense of stillness in the room.