Great Lake Swimmers, “Your Rocky Spine”

I’ve never thought of “Americana” as an adjective that would make me want to buy anything.  I’m not given to effusive patriotism, and it’s really not a word that seems to mean very much in particular.  In this case, the word was “Canadiana,” but the principle seems to be same.  Just the same, one listen to “There Is A Light” on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and I was hooked.   And despite the fact that that song (in a close tie with “Changing Colours”) is my absolute favorite from the album, I want to draw your attention to the single – “Your Rocky Spine.”

First of all, you can have it for free by going here.  Head on over to the discography, and download yourself a copy.  After two listens, I went straight out (um, to iTunes) and bought myself a copy of Ongiara – the third album from this wonderful band.  The songs positively drip with atmosphere, and the minimalist arrangements are as open as the spaces that are sung about.  The band draws a lot of power from its attention to detail, and chooses to overwhelm with beauty rather than bombast.

“Your Rocky Spine” is a love song written to the land.  “Floating over your rocky spine / The glaciers made you, and now you’re mine.”  Tony Dekker’s vocals are beautiful, and remind me simultaneously of Red House Painters and Neil Young.  I suspect that I’m not the first to notice that.  What’s more, the strong references to land and geography become useful metaphors for the journey of the spirit, and, in so doing, they make the idea of “Canadiana” (or, indeed, “Americana”) meaningful and precious. (1) More importantly, at least for today, is that these songs are the perfect company on a windy, housebound day.  They are restoratives for the soul, and a guard against the long, dark Winter.  If you’re like me, then I think you’ll find yourself feeling just a bit more snug as they wrap around you…

Have a listen.




  1. Honestly, I’m just as shocked as you. [Back]

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