Local duo on Best Folk album list

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Two singer-songwriters from Coleraine have been named in the Best Folk music albums of 2015 in The Daily Telegraph.

Former Coleraine Times journalist Anthony Toner’s Miles and Weather and Damien O’Kane’s Areas Of High Traffic have made a list of the top 70 chosen by the paper’s Culture Editor, Martin Chilton.

And the local duo are in celebrated company as the list includes artists such as Enya, Steeleye Span, Paul Brady and Fairport Convention.

Hailed earlier this year as ‘the bard of Coleraine’ Anthony Toner’s album received critical acclaim and he toured a number of venues across the north.

The album is given four stars by Chilton who says: “Belfast [based]singer-songwriter Anthony Toner was a journalist for 17 years and the years of working part-time as a guitarist and singer in a dance band have paid off because this is a musician who knows his trade.

“His storytelling songs are wry and lyrical, he sings well and adds real warmth in his acoustic, electric, lap steel and dobro guitar playing. Miles & Weather deals with relationships and connection (and disconnection) and opens in sparkling form with Bless the Road. Conversation with a Hurricane is excellent and Great Big World is a sweet tribute to a Seventies childhood.

“The album was produced by bassist Clive Culbertson, with Curtis Bradley on drums. It’s no wonder Toner’s reputation is growing.”

Areas of High Traffic is the follow up to DamienO’Kane’s 2010 album Summer Hill.

Chilton hails the work: “It’s bold to take on a traditional Irish gem such as I am A Youth (think of Paul Brady’s lovely classic version) but Damien O’Kane weaves it into something modern, melodic and sparkling in his second solo album.

“The Coleraine singer has a sweet bass voice and he brings out all the emotion from the lovely song Don’t Let Me Come Home A Stranger. O’Kane duets with his wife Kate Rusby on The Banks of the Bann and there is also a guest appearance from the banjo maestro Ron Block (Union Station), who trades licks with O’Kane on an upbeat instrumental.

“A special mention, too, for Waterford percussionist Cormac Byrne, whose skill and intuition are integral to folk-pop that is Irish music for the 21st century.”

Check out the full list: www.telegraph.co.uk/music/what-to-listen-to/best-folk-music-albums-of-2015/