The Book of Absolution – Anthony Toner

Featuring twenty seven original songs, 'The Book of Absolution' may be Anthony Toner's most ambitious and creative release to date.

The Book of Absolution

Anthony Toner

  • Americana
  • Folk

  1. The Protection of the King
  2. Dignity Thief
  3. The One I Would have Died For
  4. Should Have Done it Years Ago
  5. Billy and the Vast Majority
  6. The Penguin Book of American Verse
  7. Whoever Wins in Ohio
  8. Going Home Blues
  9. The Man Who Died at a Funeral
  10. Rattle My Cage
  11. Let Me know
  12. The Book of Absolution
  13. New Year's Eve
  14. I Will not Weep
  15. Decades
  16. Wheelchair, 2014
  17. The Same Thing for You
  18. Padlocks
  19. Williambutleryeats
  20. Royal Blue, Washable Ink
  21. Last of The Old Ones
  22. Your Mother
  23. You and Raymond
  24. Parade
  25. Backwards on The Train
  26. Paperbacks and Ashtrays
  27. Row me Home

This is Anthony’s 14th release, and easily his most ambitious to date, with 27 Tracks spread over a double album.  Don’t be put off by the size, there is much to admire within.

One of the great strengths of this artist has always been his observations on life and his poetic delivery. On a release full of reminiscence and nostalgia, there are poignant moments balanced with humour.

‘The Protection of The King’ is a fun memory of his parents’ poster of Elvis Presley, where other parents might have had “Wedding groups and landscapes”.

There is a lot of humour in songs such as ‘Williambutleryeats’, ‘Going Home Blues’, and ‘Padlocks’:

There’s a little pink bike on its side Outside the shop, with one wheel spinning Like an early scene from a kidnap movie, where the bad guys are still winning

There are neat slices of social observation in ‘Billy and The Vast Majority’, ‘Decades’, with it’s laid-back West coast vibe, ‘Whoever Wins in Ohio’, and ‘You and Raymond’.

But it’s the autobiographical songs that really hit the mark. Anthony states many were sparked by the loss of his parents, the surges of affectionate memories that followed.

‘Dignity Thief’ is both a lament at losing a loved one, piece by piece, day by day, and internal dialogue of the singer, is this disease coming for me?

Old man, this disease is a dignity thief It strips old trees naked, leaf by leaf. Of course, I’m afraid that it’s coming for me, Of course, I’m afraid, of course, I’m afraid.

‘You’re The One I Would have Died For’, might just be the sweetest song, Toner has ever written.

For me, the most affecting song on the album, is ‘Wheelchair, 2014′. It’s a simple snapshot of a moment in time, when he spent time, with his ailing mother. Few writers think of using ‘wheelchair’ as an adjective, yet when Toner writes of “The wheelchair weight of my mother”, he encapsulates so much in those six words, muscle memory, loss, and love. It’s a wonderful use of language, breaking convention to convey emotions so succinctly and creating such a vivid visual picture.

Most of the songs were written during 2020 and 2021. Over half were recorded by Anthony in his own studio, playing a list of instruments and showing his versatility on guitar acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, banjo, lap steel, and percussion. Talented guy!

Of course, when you’re Anthony Toner, you can draw on the resources of top local musicians to add layers to the mix. Hence we have the presence of John McCullough on keys, Clive Culbertson on bass, and Ciaran Lavery on backing vocals among others.

‘The Book of Absolution’ is a worthy addition to Anthony’s already impressive body of work and is available as a limited edition physical double cd, and on the usual digital streaming services.