Ben Lamar Gay Shares New Single “Oh Great Be The Lake”

Chicago-based composer, singer, and instrumental polymath Ben LaMar Gay returns to share “Oh Great Be the Lake,” the second single from his upcoming new album Open Arms to Open Us, out November 19 on International Anthem / Nonesuch. “Oh Great Be the Lake” is a classic ballad penned by Gay about his memories of jumping off the rocks into Lake Michigan on Chicago’s Southside. Supported by minimal flute accents by Rob Frye (Bitchin Bajas), and wordless backing vocals by Ayanna Woods, Gay croons, repeatedly: “Learn how to swim.” This song also birthed the album title, which is taken from the lyrics in the second verse. About the meaning of “Open Arms to Open Us,” Gay says: “The title is a suggestion of a body movement that is used in many spiritual practices and is also a movement that leads to touch or a hug.” The single arrives today via an animated music video by Chris Strong.

Reflecting on the music in a prologue he wrote for Open Arms to Open Us, Gay says “Open Arms to Open Us deals with rhythm as an inheritance of information – sort of like DNA or RNA. Coping with the present-day bombardment of data and recycled ideologies from sources essentially fed by the creed ‘Destroy Them. Own the Earth,’ often leaves me with only one thing to look forward to: Rhythm.”