Songs about drinking, shoplifting, flirting by e-mail and jumping off rooftops - Anthony Toner is a true original, a purveyor of heart-filled songs and stories from the road. He's currently touring Northern Ireland in support of his fifth album, the already-acclaimed Sing Under the Bridges.
The Belfast man brings an observant eye to affairs of the heart, the complicated angles of relationships and a myriad of other subjects, with lyrics that are filled with compassion, warmth and wit. His live shows are peppered with banter and entertaining and bizarre background stories to the songs - and some peerless acoustic guitar picking and singing.
Anthony has been building an impressive body of work, first hitting the airwaves six years ago with the much-loved radio hit ‘Sailortown’, and following it with equally catchy songs like ‘The Duke of Oklahoma’, ‘Well Well Well’ and ‘East of Louise’.
In addition to growing a dedicated fan base throughout Northern Ireland, Anthony is also developing a following in Canada, and attended the Folk Alliance festival in Toronto this February.
Recorded and produced at Clive Culbertson’s No Sweat Studios in Coleraine, Sing Under the Bridges extends Anthony’s trademark acoustic sound with the addition of horns, violin and cello. Some of Northern Ireland’s finest musicians have played on the new material, including pianist John McCullough, guitarist Ronnie Greer, Neil Martin on cello, John Fitzpatrick on violin, Peter McKinney on drums and Linley Hamilton on trumpet.
‘The new material is both familiar and strange,’ explains Anthony. ‘Much of it will sound familiar to those who have enjoyed the previous albums, but there are some more challenging things here – some of the tracks have a more soul, blues and jazz approach. It’s been a lot of fun to work on this collection, and it felt like a very fast recording process.’
Anthony has been showcasing some of the new material in recent live performances, and songs like ‘The Road to Fivemiletown’ and ‘Most People Are a Pain in the Ass’ have been going down a storm with audiences. To complete the tour, Anthony is performing a pair of dates in Scotland in June as special guest of singer songwriter Ben Glover. The Northern Ireland tour dates will feature Anthony performing solo with acoustic and electric guitars, with some specially-recorded loops and samples. To find out more, visit Anthony’s website on www.anthonytoner.net.
Anthony can also be followed on Twitter @tonersongs, and on facebook.com/anthonytonermusic.