Show Of Hands
Steve Knightley and Phil Beer came together more than 20 yrs ago to form the duo, Show Of Hands, without doubt one of the most influential, hard working and popular duos on today’s folk scene.
Over the years they have filled concert halls, recorded a string of terrific albums and have written some of the best songs of the last twenty years.
Phil Beer, a Devon boy through and through, was already well known for his work with Paul Downes and with bands like The Albion Band and The Arizona Smoke Review. He also recorded and toured with Mike Oldfield and did session work for a little-known rock band called The Rolling Stones. He is also a fine producer.
Steve Knightley, another West Country boy, was a guitarist and singer, who had played in folk clubs and bars and who also played with his own pub rock bands, Short Stories, The Cheats and Total Strangers. His songs have been covered by many other folk artists and, without ever being preachy, they touch a common core of anger and empathy – Roots, Ignorance Arrogance and Greed, Santiago, The Galway Farmer, Country Life – Steve is a gifted storyteller and through his stories he takes us to the the very heart of the matter.
Through hard work and a succession of really fine recordings Show Of Hands built up a fan base that grew to such a size that they have filled the Royal Albert Hall at least four times to my knowledge.
But, as well as selling out large venues and headlining major festivals, the duo, more often than not augmented by the great bass playing and fine voice of Miranda Sykes, regularly go on the road to play small village halls and theatres, taking their music into places where other performers rarely go. It is this loyalty to the music, to their roots and to their love of performance that has given them a very special place in the folk movement of the last thirty years.