Currently on tour with Cold Specks, Great Lake Swimmers are going to be making a few visits to Toronto this summer, including shows at the Danforth Music Hall on June 2, plus an opening show for Blue Rodeo at the Molson Canadian Ampitheatre on Aug. 18. We had a chance to sit down with lead singer Tony Dekker to ask about the new record, New Wild Everywhere. Here are a few of the highlights:
• “The new record was more of an experiment in trying to work in an actual studio. It is our fifth record, but in a way our first studio record.”
• “We recorded it at Revolution Recording. It’s a huge new studio space, modeled after Abbey Road Studios in England. It had lots of classic, vintage gear and cool microphones. It was a new challenge for us.”
• “I’m not a gear nerd or anything, but just to have some of these really cool old microphones and different compressors — really classic — it was a treat.”
• “I wrote ‘Ballad of the Fishermen’s Wife’ originally for Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, and started playing it, just solo, for their digital music club. I played it with the band, and everyone really liked it so we decided to re-record it. It was actually originally written, I guess, as a sort of protest against the BP oil spill on the Gulf Coast. That was the impetus for the song. I was reading a lot of the newspaper headlines at the time about people’s livelihoods being destroyed because of the oil spill and how it is an ongoing disaster even now.”
• “When I think back on it, I really feel the rural lifestyle in my bones. Being in touch with the weather, for example. Weather systems play a huge part in successfully having a farm. I grew up in that environment and those kinds of things are important, and that carried through somehow.”
Walking this way
Online sensations Walk off the Earth are officially the owners of the most popular cover song ever posted on YouTube. The Burlington band’s cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” rocketed passed the 100-million views milestone earlier this week.
The clever video, which sees all five members of the band playing the tune on a single guitar at the same time, garnered the outfit significant attention, including an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, culminating in a deal with Columbia Records (they have released two full-length albums independently). The band has also just confirmed an appearance at Lollapalooza this summer in Chicago, as well as a slew of summer dates including the Hillside Festival in Guelph and the Sound of Music Festival in Burlington.
A full rundown of the dates, as well as their latest video, a cover of Nirvana’s “Polly,” are posted on the band’s website.
Daniel Lanois has announced the initial lineup for the second Greenbelt Harvest Picnic Festival slated for Sept. 1 at the Christie Lake Conservation Area. Headlining the one-day local food and environmental festival is Feist along with Emmylou Harris, Daniel Lanois with Brian Blade, Gord Downie and TheSadies, Sarah Harmer, Mix Master Mike, Jesse Cook, Brady L. BladeSr. and the The HallelujahTrain, with more to come. That is a killer lineup folks, and tickets go on sale via Ticketmaster on May 26. Check out Daniel Lanois and Emmylou Harris from last year’s inaugural event:
Strum it down
Local groove-yokels The Strumbellas are hitting the road for their first Western Canada tour. The band has finally gotten some much-deserved attention following the release of their debut full-length album, My Father and the Hunter, which hit stores in February. The band plays a few local shows including one in town on May 26 at the venerable Horseshoe Tavern before packing up the van and pulling out of town. Check out their show, and if you haven’t heard the new album yet, check that out too — it’s a solid effort that displays a crunchy, roots-rock sound reminiscent of the best of the city’s finest alt-country chroniclers such as Cuff the Duke and The Skydiggers. Here is a great piece of video from the band’s release party at The Rivoli:
Ex-Constantines front man Bry Webb is heading out on the road in support of his solo debut album, Provider, released in November 2011 on the Toronto label Idée Fixe Records. He’ll play shows throughout the summer from coast to coast. Webb kicks off the tour on June 1 at the 918 Bathurst Arts Centre as part of Wavelength #543. Check out a couple of tunes from Provider here.
Anticipation is building for the impending release of Americana, the new album from one-time Toronto resident Neil Young, along with his band, Crazy Horse, due out on June 5. The album revisits classic folk songs including well-known tunes such as the now-popular children’s song “Clementine” and “Jesus’ Chariot (She’ll Be Coming ’Round the Mountain),” both completely re-imagined with sonic aplomb. The legendary Canadian musician has been slowly rolling out the album through clever vignettes posted on his website and other online portals. The most recent, “Clementine,” like the first “Jesus’ Chariot,” makes use of authentic “found” video footage to startling effect. Check out “Clementine” here while you still can.
Everything will be all right
Ska legend and Toronto-native and Chris Murray is heading back to Toronto this week for a rare, local concert appearance at Lee’s Palace on May 27. The former frontman of King Apparatus, Murray packed up his rude boy thing and moved to Los Angeles years ago, but continues to play his own rootsy version of ska to much acclaim. Currently, he’s got a groovy three-member band: the Chris Murray Combo. The group is currently in the studio working on a new record, so expect some new tunes when he hits town as well as a few classics from King Apparatus. Check out a classic from the Chris Murray canon below: