:: Anthony Toner – The Book of Absolution (Album, Dozens of Cousins)
Anthony Toner in Victoria Park.Photo: Ken Haddock
It hasn’t been long since you read about Anthony Tonner’s Emperor on these pages, but it’s a great album where the Belfast-based singer-songwriter has collected acoustic versions of his best songs.
But clearly determined to share some brand new music with his fans while making up for the time lost to Covid, the Coleraine-born bard featured 27 new songs split across two discs. Released a large-scale double album.
Entitled The Book of Absolution, the value-for-money package features a mix of multi-instrumental solos and full-band recordings that Toner finds in a meditative mood. No doubt it will resonate with many listeners as they navigate the weird post-Christmas. , the pre-New Year period characterized by celebration, introspection, and mild indigestion.
In fact, the record is one of his most personal collections to date, featuring a myriad of themes and inspirational songs. Childhood memories and nostalgia, true love, loss and longing, joy, fun and funerals, preachers, poetry and paperbacks, sickness, old age and death. There’s even a nod to Elvis.
“This collection was born in the midst of the anxiety and isolation that has hit us all in the last few years…it’s all very well said,” Tonner wrote in the new record’s sleeve notes. .
“Some songs were born with joy, others had to chase different trees, and others seemed to emerge from the ground overnight. Triggered by a surge of loving memories.”
Toner operates here in a compelling eclectic musical wheelhouse, notably incorporating soulful singer-songwriter salutes of folk, country/Americana and Van The Man-style post-R’n’B. I understand.
Over half of the songs were recorded solo in his home studio, juggling acoustic guitar, lap steel, banjo, piano, and percussion. Other songs include producer Clive Culbertson on bass, drummer Matt Weir, John McCullough on Hammond organ and piano, Nick Scott on upright bass, Neil Martin (cello), Maeve・Martin (viola) and the Arco String Quartet.
Fellow music traveler Ciarán Lavery also guested on two tracks, adding a selection of backing vocals to the hilariously autobiographical The Protection of The King. The Penguin Book of American verse, a wall of Toner’s parents’ bedroom in their home in Harpur’s Hill – and a more whimsical affair, reveals the inspirational impact of this famous book on the reader’s imagination, the American dream and It becomes a metaphor for the dissonance between realities.
These are just two highlights of this great collection, the playfulness of the former song being Dignity Thief’s more somber, melodic and melancholic take on the effects of dementia, despite the fact that one directly follows the other. Rumination and somehow not jarring. John McCullough’s quarreling Great Hammond unites the two, while Dignity Thief’s see-saw strings perfectly capture the subject’s anxieties.
As a listener, diving into a 27-track album can be a somewhat daunting prospect. Especially if you’re an old-school weirdo who likes to set aside time to listen to a record “properly” from start to finish. But Book of Absolution will soon begin to reward your dedication. So by the time you get to track three, Toner’s sublime heartbreaking heartwarming ballad The One I Could Have Died For, you’re already thinking about how you can make time to sneak in. increase. Listen again to whatever your day demands of you.
There are many other highlights in this wonderfully expansive set, and you’ll discover favorites that are likely to change from spin to spin.
At this point, I’m particularly obsessed with the album’s title track. The track feels like a slow, dusty cowboy wailing while Toner assesses his own and others’ misdeeds. Then there’s his Backwards on The Train of his striking country strummer. On this song, a back-seat commute lyrically skilfully explores life’s unexpected twists and turns, while Toner’s early, formative, and modern era—a playful, easy-going tale of her decades. Listening to her reviews. And the man who died at the funeral (hopefully not inspired by real events – “They were taking out the coffin and everyone got up, but he stayed still”) We discover that Toner deftly walks the line between playful and poignant.
After that, songs about his parents became big hits, such as the aforementioned Dignity Thief. I dare you to make it through the Wheelchair, 2014, is a string-laden ballad inspired by bittersweet memories of a day spent with the singer his songwriter at Bishop’s Gate. Ailing mothers with dry eyes, even paperbacks and ashtrays, superficially harmless, follow memory lane when young toners used to sneak reading spy thrillers and crime novels “because they wanted to connect.” Even travel has an unexpected impact.
Delve into the heartfelt and healing soundtrack for these troubled times now on anthonytoner.bandcamp.com, Spotify and more. Meanwhile, his special 2-CD version in a handsome folding package with lyric booklet is limited to just 400 copies and will be available until stocks last. At only £12 anthonytoner.net is an absolute bargain.
Having just finished a tour behind The Book of Absolution, which featured several dates with him supporting Scottish folk legend Barbara Dixon on the water, Toner hopes that next year he and Dixon will perform at the Grand Opera in Belfast. We plan to return the favor when we play a double headliner at House. March 18th sees them perform their own full set and some duets.
Get your tickets now from goh.co.uk.
:: Jetplane Landing Reissue Zero For Conduct
Zero For Conduct will be reissued in January
Finally, this week, Anglo-Delhi post-hardcore legends Jetplane Landing are releasing a deluxe reissue of their 2001 debut album, Zero For Conduct, on independent record label Big Scary Monsters. We would like to inform you that we have announced that it will be released. It’s also home to former Jetplane guitarist Cahir O’Doherty’s current outfit, the New Pagans).
And, as if that wasn’t enough, the band’s entire back catalog is now available via streaming services for the first time.
Released on limited vinyl on January 13th, the 22nd anniversary edition of Zero For Conduct features 19 exclusive bonus tracks featuring never-before-heard demos and live versions, plus the indefinitely released Andrew Comes with an extensive sleeve note written by the band led by Ferris. He’s been on hiatus since the release of his fourth record, 2013’s fantastic swan song Don’t Try.
Featuring alternative anthems Summer Ends and This Is Not Revolution Rock, Jetplane’s debut was originally recorded on an eight-track tape machine in the garage of Jamie (bass/vocals) and Ralph Burchell (drums)’s parents’ Bogner Regis home. was recorded in
“When we first released Zero For Conduct on our own label, we didn’t know what to expect. Hundreds of shows, so many new friends, so many scraps with industry heavyweights, it’s all great. It’s a memory.
“If it’s your first time at this party, you’re very welcome. If it’s your first time, you know all the rules by now.”
Join now at bsmrocks.com.