Tony Dekker Prayer of the Woods

Tony Dekker Prayer of the Woods
7
It's curious that Great Lakes Swimmers frontman Tony Dekker has made his debut solo album following the band's first venture into an actual recording studio: 2012's New Wild Everywhere. If that experience spooked him, he's recovered well with Prayer of the Woods, a ten-track collection that pares everything down to the bare minimum, with haunting results. Working within elegant acoustic guitar frameworks, augmented by subtle hints of fiddle, keyboards and harmonium, Dekker's preoccupation with the Canadian state of mind flourishes in his lyrics. Few songwriters are able to convey the country's harsh beauty as well as Dekker, which also extends to the album's reverb-heavy production. Sonic comparisons can easily be made to Mark Kozelek's work, but Dekker's vision, conveyed best on "Somewhere Near Thunder Bay" and "Under A Magician's Sky," is the Canadian folk tradition personified in the 21st century. In keeping with that, Dekker closes the record with an aching cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "Carefree Highway," making it the anthem it was always meant to be for those consistently drifting along the Trans-Canada freeway. Prayer of the Woods may be a modest release, but it puts Dekker's talent into sharp focus. (Nettwerk)