Get to Know: Anthony Toner

Coleraine native and long-time Belfast resident, Anthony Toner is known and loved for his wonderfully warm, witty and often autobiographical songwriting. Seven studio albums and and a “Selected Songs” collection, as  well as a reputation for intimate live performances full of beautiful music and charming stories, have earned him a loyal fan base.

Anthony’s latest collection however, is something of a departure from his usual fare. The Kiss of Light, is a spoken word-and-instrumental collaboration with the acclaimed poet Frank Ormsby, in which Frank’s readings of eleven of his works are interspersed with Anthony’s guitar instrumentals, inspired by the poems – with additional graceful touches from Neil Martin on cello and Linley Hamilton on trumpet. The album is due for release in mid-March. Get to Know Anthony Toner.

The Kiss of Light

Name: Anthony Toner

Where you’re from: Originally Coleraine, born and bred – but have been living in Belfast for the last 10 years

Describe your style in 5 words or fewer: James Taylor meets John Prine

Best thing about the Northern Ireland music scene: Best and also possibly the worst – it’s so tight. Everybody knows everybody

Digital music, CDs or vinyl: CDs – I find myself listening to music in the car

Biggest musical influence: Early ’70s James Taylor on Warner Brothers

What you’re listening to right now: Beethoven’s Late String Quartets – The Takacs Quartet

Favourite venue: The next one

Best local band/artist of the moment: Ciaran Lavery

Last gig you attended: Stewart Lee at the Leicester Square Theatre in London in January

Best gig you ever attended: Ron Sexsmith Trio at Katy Daly’s, 1997 – up close, tight, intelligent, emotional and groundbreaking

Gig you wish you could have attended: The Six Gallery in San Francisco, October 1955 – Allen Ginsberg reads ‘Howl’ for the first time

Favourite album of all time: Keeps changing… at the minute it’s Randy Newman – Little Criminals

Musician you’d love to collaborate with: Ry Cooder

Last thing you do before going onstage: Check the setlist and file my nails

Most prized possession: My Lowden O10 guitar – 25 years old this October.  It was the most expensive single thing I’d ever bought back then, apart from a car or a house

Last present you gave to someone: Some spending money for my daughter’s birthday trip to Edinburgh

Dream festival line-up: I never go to festivals so I have no idea: The Rolling Stones, The Hold Steady and Fun Lovin’ Criminals…..?

Check out details of all of Anthony’s upcoming live shows here.