A unique evening of great music, as Scottish folk legend Barbara Dickson shares the Opera House stage with Belfast-based songwriter Anthony Toner. The pair have toured frequently over the last seven years, with Anthony as Barbara’s special guest – but this one-off night offers an equal share of the spotlight.
Anthony (with pianist Scott Flanigan) will play the first set, with Barbara (accompanied by Nick Holland on piano and vocals) taking the second – and both offering a song or two as a duo to close the evening.
Neither artist needs any introduction – Barbara, a much-acclaimed star of stage, screen and stage, is celebrating the release of her latest album Time is Going Faster, while Anthony – famed for songs like ‘Sailortown’ and ‘The Road to Fivemiletown’, celebrates his latest collection, The Book of Absolution.
BARBARA DICKSON BIOGRAPHY
From her roots in the Scottish folk music scene of the late 1960’s through to mainstream chart success with hits including ‘Answer Me’, ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’, ‘January, February’, ‘Caravans’ and the million-selling single, ‘I Know Him So Well’, Barbara Dickson has long since cemented her status as one of the UK’s most enduring performers.
As Scotland’s best-selling female album artist, she has earned 6 platinum, 11 gold and 7 silver albums for her recordings. Her stage career has included the roles of the original Mrs Johnstone in Willy Russell’s searing Liverpool musical, ‘Blood Brothers’ and as Viv Nicholson in ‘Spend, Spend. Spend,’ both of which have won her an Olivier award for ‘Best Actress’ on the West End stage in London.
On TV Barbara starred in Kay Mellor’s seminal ‘Band of Gold’ as well as leading roles in ‘The Missing Postman’ and ‘Taggart’. She has appeared in two documentaries by the distinguished film maker Tony Palmer.
She accompanies herself on guitar and piano and writes songs on both. She works usually with pianist Nick Holland or with her full band, led by multi-instrumentalist, Troy Donockley. Her first headlining tour was in 1977.
Barbara was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in the 2002 New Year’s Honours for services to music and drama and she is patron to several Scots charities. She has five Honorary Fellowships and Doctorates from UK Universities.
She lives in Edinburgh.
Anthony Toner: Biography
Anthony Toner is one of Northern Ireland’s most acclaimed songwriters and musicians. Since emerging in 2008 with his much-playlisted song ‘Sailortown’, he has continued to release albums and tour across Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales.
His most recent, 13th collection, The Book of Absolution, has been hailed as his best work yet, with one reviewer acclaiming it as ‘a masterpiece’. Particular praise has been reserved throughout his career for his lyrics, and led him to be described early in his career as ‘like James Taylor meets John Prine – in a second hand bookshop’.
Born and raised in Coleraine, Anthony has been a part time musician since his early 20s, and enjoyed former positions in journalism and arts management before embarking on a solo musical career in 2015. Constantly releasing and touring as a self-managed independent artist since 2008, he has chalked up a large number of warmly-regarded songs, including ‘Well Well Well’, ‘The Road to Fivemiletown’, ‘An Alphabet’, ‘East of Louise’ and many more.
His live performances, usually as a solo artist, feature his highly-developed acoustic guitar technique – as well as insight-filled observations and humorous stories from the road, leading one audience member to remark after a show: ‘it was like experiencing a series of beautiful short films’.
Anthony is also a regular and high-regarded performer on electric guitar, as a member of The Ronnie Greer Blues Band, and is in demand as a session guitarist and sideman for various performers and recording artists.
In recent years he has toured as special guest of the legendary performer Barbara Dickson, attracting new followers in venues throughout the UK. Following that exposure, he is developing an audience on the UK folk club and festival circuit.