Prayer of the Woods is the solo offering by Tony Dekker, lead singer of the Canadian folk-rock group Great Lake Swimmers. Long-time followers of his band will likely note the resemblance to the sparsely intimate guitar-and-voice sound of their early work and appreciate Dekker’s consistently wildlife-rich lyrics. These are unique songs of solitude, though—wistful new explorations of love, memory, mortality, and dreams.
It is easy to visualize Dekker on a personal pilgrimage through forests and fields—“in exile in the oaks/Exile in the firs, exile in the birch.” The title track, based on an anonymous poem found on hand-carved signs on many North American hiking trails, is a tender call to find spiritual sanctity in the natural world. Although Dekker never mentions Christ directly, this gently inviting album might still bring to listeners’ minds Jesus himself, who would often slip away to the wilderness and pray (Luke 5:16). (Nettwerk Records)