Thursday, March 08, 2007

Great Lake Swimmers

"Ongiara" continues to explore the worlds of indie folk, roots music and alt-country pop, with a focus on lyrics and the craft of songwriting. The new record is permeated with a rich natural reverb, courtesy of London, Ontario's Aeolian Hall, which creates the magical background on which the songs are painted.

These ten new songs are largely inspired by Canada's majestic natural environment ("Your Rocky Spine") and our reciprocal relationship with the land ("Put There By The Land"). "Where In The World Are You", "Passenger Song" and "Changing Colours" touch on themes of grace and understanding in life journeys, and the latter reflects on the cycle of living and dying. "There Is A Light" is a love song thinly veiled as a protest anthem, and similarly, "I Am Part Of A Large Family" contains a message of peace. Album closer "I Became Awake" is a country-infused lullaby which speaks to revelation and self-realization.

In addition to the core band of Tony Dekker (voice, guitar), Erik Arnesen (banjo, electric guitar) and Colin Huebert (drums, percussion, glockenspiel, timpani), the new album features special guest appearances by singer-songwriter Serena Ryder (backing vocals, autoharp), Bob Egan of Blue Rodeo (pedal steel and dobro), Sarah Harmer (backing vocals) and Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy and Arcade Fire (string arrangements). Mike Overton (upright bass), Darcy Yates (electric bass), Mike Olsen (cello), and Mike Bonnell (organ) also contributed their talents to this recording.

The title of the album was taken from the Toronto Harbour boat that carried the band to their initial recording sessions on Toronto Island with Dale Morningstar. However, "Ongiara" was mainly recorded in the Aeolian Hall, the centuries-old acoustic jewel in the heart of London, Ontario. It was engineered by Andy Magoffin, and mixed at the renowned House of Miracles. Renowned artist and Juno winner James Mejia (HolyFuck, Wintersleep) created the artwork for both releases.

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