Great Lake Swimmers: New Wild Everywhere (Nettwerk) 

Toronto songwriter Tony Dekker leads Great Lake Swimmers, an electrified folk orchestra striving for the same agelessness that's carried decades of roots music.

New Wild Everywhere finds Dekker writing with a troubadour's restlessness, filling his songs with elemental and natural imagery—fire, wind, storms, animals, wounds, dreams and desires.

The band's sound falls somewhere in the area of Roger McGuinn fronting the Band, or Will Oldham forcing Arcade Fire into going country. It's rich and polished chamber folk, well-executed on slower songs like the dreamy violin-led opener "Think That You Might Be Wrong," though the spark really comes when the band picks up the pace.

The album's most-memorable songs share an up-tempo jumpiness: the breezy Laurel Canyon-esque "New Wild Everywhere," the full-bore country rocker "Changes With the Wind" and the brightly melodic "Easy Come Easy Go."

But it's the ballad "Fields of Progeny" that serves as the album's calling card, an ode to old-time roots music and all the links that have brought that music to the present. Dekker's sincere longing is fully exposed as he sings, "I hear the old voices singing / this song will never end / it was here long ago and continues to grow / in the fields of progeny."

Great Lake Swimmers play music for the Instagram world, turning to sepia tone in fond mimicry of the old originals—and pulling it off beautifully.

More by Eric Swedlund


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