Born and raised in Northern Ireland, Anthony Toner has attracted rave reviews for his songs and live performances - both as a solo act and as lead singer for various groups.
His strong but mellow voice is reminiscent of James Taylor, but with more of a blues edge, and his guitar playing fuses elements of fingerstyle folk and blues with touches of jazz. His introductions to his songs and his rapport with the listeners have made him a firm favourite with audiences throughout Ireland.
The songs are catchy and familiar but feature some lyrical turns that exert a strong pull on the listener. Anthony was a journalist for seventeen years and is as much influenced by contemporary fiction and poetry as by music. His subject material ranges from people in love to disoriented spacemen, shoplifters and Ian Fleming.
His short stories have also been published in The Black Mountain Review, with his work also being selected for the anthology Breaking the Skin: Twenty-First Century Irish Writing in 2003.
Although he has enjoyed a long career as a working guitarist and singer, he came to the fore when he released his debut album Eventually, in 2002. The album - featuring some of the finest session musicians in the country and produced by former Van Morrison bassist Clive Culbertson - picked up steady airplay throughout Northern Ireland with some wonderful reviews from the country’s top DJs, many of who still select tracks for rotation five years on.
He has appeared as headliner at some of the finest folk clubs in the north of Ireland, and has supported some of the biggest names on the folk circuit, including Bert Jansch, Chip Taylor, Frances Black and John Renbourn.
In 2005 one of his songs was selected by the Northern Ireland Music Industry Commission for inclusion on a CD sampler that was distributed worldwide as a showcase for writers and performers from the north of Ireland. In the same year he was invited to take part in the BelFEST festival at a number of venues in the city.
In 2006 he fronted the Neil Young tribute band Heart of Gold, who toured theatres and arts centres throughout Ireland with a show that won standing ovations from Irish Neil Young fans. He also took part in a ground-breaking Songwriters in the Round tour, as one of five of Northern Ireland’s foremost new writing talents.
This year he received an award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to assist with the production costs for his next album of original songs, currently in production and due for release in the late summer early autumn. In addition to his solo projects, Anthony is also the frontman for popular swing band Yap Yap Yap, and is slide guitarist and singer with Ireland’s finest blues outfit, the Ronnie Greer Blues Band.