June 10, 2009


Great Lake Swimmers: Tiny Desk Concert (Stephen Thompson, 6/08/09, NPR.org)

When Tom Jones showed up for his Tiny Desk Concert a few months back, Bob Boilen's shabby workspace quickly cut the legend's larger-than-life persona down to size. Here was a huge-voiced, lionized pop star and icon, and he seemed exposed and more than a little nervous. (Of course, Jones is also one of popular music's all-time great pros, so he banged out an unforgettable set like a champ.)

Few paragraphs about Tom Jones transition seamlessly into paragraphs about Great Lake Swimmers singer Tony Dekker, but I was struck by how shy both men seemed when presented with a tiny spotlight and a office full of happy strangers. Showing up alone — no band, no road manager — Dekker was enormously kind, but his timidity was apparent whenever he wasn't softly singing one of his band's gorgeous folk-pop songs.

Fortunately, unlike Jones, Dekker plays music that's ideally suited to a bit of introversion. Throughout a career that spans four albums — in this three-song set, "Everything Is Moving So Fast" and "Pulling on a Line" were both drawn from Great Lake Swimmers' latest, Lost Channels — Dekker has developed a sterling track record for gentle ruminations on nature, beauty, conflict and the human body.

-ARCHIVES: Great Lake Swimmers: Full NPR Music Archive

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 10, 2009 7:10 AM
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