The St. Lawrence River runs from the Atlantic Ocean into Lake Ontario. Over the years it has carried everything from cargo to typhoid in the holds of the ships that have sailed up river to inland destinations. As the great river completes its westward journey to the lake, travelers pass through a stretch known as the 1,000 Islands.
While some of these so called islands are no more than lumps of rock with a tree stuck on them, the region between Cornwall and Kingston Ontario on the Canadian side of the river and Oswego to Massena on the American, takes its name from the more than 1,000 islands that dot the river and Lake Ontario. The area is now a major source of tourist revenue for towns on both sides of the border as they ferry countless tourists each summer on cruises through the numerous channels the islands have created merely by existing. Dotted throughout the system are occasional wonders like Boldt Castle, the never-completed testimony of industrialist George Boldt's love for his wife Louise. When Louise died before it was finished, George ordered all work stopped on the project and it lay abandoned for decades until the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority bought the property and turned it into a tourist attraction. History, romance, and mystery are what attract people to the Thousand Islands by the bus load on a daily basis every summer, and it's those qualities that have been the inspiration for the southern Ontario based band Great Lake Swimmers' new CD on the Nettwerk Music Group label, Lost Channels. However, don't expect many literal references to specifics like Boldt Castle or other geographical landmarks from the region, as this is a much more impressionistic venture than that. Recorded at various locations throughout the 1,000 Island region, the band has tried to capture the sense of wonder, romance, and mystery that the locale has evoked in people's mind for generations.Great Lake Swimmers' sound is built around lead vocalist Tony Dekker. There's an almost ethereal quality to his voice that makes it ideally suited for these types of atmospheric creations. That's not to say his voice is thin or lacking in any way; rather it has an otherworldly quality, making it sound like he's been able to peek behind the curtains where the emotional truths of events are normally hidden.