Great Lake Swimmers with Picastro and Andy Magoffin at Clinton's (693 Bloor West), Friday (March 28). $6, with CD $12. 416-535-9541.
local singer, songwriter and musician Tony Dekker is subdued. He's one of those rare nice, quiet, reserved people who take a second to think before they speak. I can't stand this kind of people. They make me nervous. Talking to Dekker, I feel like a big, loud, obnoxious freak. And that's just over the phone.Dekker's full-length debut, recorded as the Great Lake Swimmers, is also understated. It's a collection of poignant, vintage-style folk/alt-country tunes, quiet and haunting -- sometimes referred to as "sad-core" by music journalists -- with Dekker's acoustic guitar complemented by lap steel, accordion, piano and crickets.
It's been reported, too, that Dekker has zero stage presence.
"I'm not sure why," he replies, when I ask why he can't get up more performance energy. He's on the phone from Montreal. It's 11 am, and we've both just woken up, but he's heading to Quebec City in about a half an hour, which is why we're doing the interview so bleedin' early. (Go to hell. For me that's early.)
"It's kind of quiet music to begin with, and I guess I feel it's more important to focus on the music rather than just banter. And, well, to be honest, I get kind of nervous.
"But I think the music speaks for itself. That might be part of (the reason), too."
The record, which Dekker sees as a solo project, was recorded by engineer Tony Szabo in a silo on an abandoned farm in southern Ontario, near the place where Dekker grew up. It took several months to record, and they often worked late into the night in said empty silo on said abandoned farm. Ooh! Must have been scary.
"We would see wild animals and things."
"Like bears and wolves?"
"No, like possums."
"Once we looked up in the silo and saw an owl. We did feel like it was kind of a Blair Witch thing, like we're out there making this recording and one day they'll find the tape." See? I knew it was scary.
"When you listen back, you can hear little bumps on the recordings."
You can also hear the crickets that played on through the night. I didn't actually notice them at first, but they're there, permeating the whole recording.
Dekker launches the CD at a performance tomorrow night (Friday, March 28) at Clinton's. Onstage he plays with four other musicians: Sandra Perri on lap steel, Nick Zubeck on bass, Jackie Rose on drums and Walter Kofman on accordion.
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