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Show Of Hands

Show of Hands consists of songwriter Steve Knightley and multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer. The seeds for the band were planted when the two were teenagers playing in their hometown of Exeter, Great Britain. They played together in various pubs and clubs around Europe, often with disastrous results, and eventually stopped performing together when high school ended. Knightley went to college while Beer dove right into the music industry. The two remained apart through the '80s, but found each other again and decided to start playing together. By 1991, they realized they still worked well as a duo and began to play out under the Show of Hands name.

Their first recordings were self-recorded efforts released on cassette tape (these have since been re-released on CD under the title Backlog), and they managed to break into the folk festival circuit through their efforts. They also formed a separate band, Alianza, which was made up of the two men and three Chilean musicians who had been exiled. This was only a short-lived project, but it opened their eyes to world music. They began to put together a collection of exotic instruments, writing many songs that utilized these new discoveries. They also started releasing CDs independently, and drafted producer Gerard O'Farrell into the fold as their sound engineer. He eventually became their manager and produced the album that finally got them noticed by the British press, 1996's Lie of the Land. They built a huge following from this new exposure and the following tour ended with their performance Live at the Royal Albert Hall, released later that year.

The duo consistently created music through the end of the ‘90s, and in 1998 they released their third album, Dark Fields, which consolidated their place on the British roots scene. In 2000, they released a record named Covers, which, as the titled suggests, contained cover versions of songs they had played together over the years. The collection included covers of artists such as Jethro Tull and Bob Dylan. They lost long-term producer/manager Gerard O’Farrell -- who returned to his home in Australia -- in the early 2000s and replaced him with Mick Dolan. This proved to be a busy time for the band as they revisited the Royal Albert Hall in 2001 to celebrate their 10th anniversary with a sold-out show that was broadcast in the U.K. In the same year, Cold Frontier arrived and marked the first album produced by Dolan. In 2003, they issued two albums. First was an instrumental effort titled The Path -- a musical journey through the West Coast of England where they grew up. The second release, Country Life, was well-received by plaudits and fans alike. The following year they were awarded BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Live Act.

A best-of titled Roots was compiled in 2007, and featured tracks from their first ten albums. They had their first U.K.-charting album in 2009 with Arrogance Ignorance and Greed, and the title track won song of the year in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. A second installment of cover versions was released in 2010 and featured a diverse repertoire, including Stereophonics' “Dakota” as well as Bob Marley's “No Woman, No Cry.” They followed it up with 2012's Wake the Union and 2016's The Long Way Home. ~ Bradley Torreano & Scott Kerr
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Show Of Hands

Disc 1

2. Exile

3. The Blind Fiddler

4. Armadas

5. Cars

6. Columbus (Didn't Find America)

8. Crow On The Cradle

9. The Preacher

10. Longdog

11. Cousin Jack

12. The Train / Blackwaterside

Disc 2

1. Captains

2. Don't It Feel Good

3. Broomfield Hill

4. Hook Of Love

5. Tall Ships

6. Mary From Dungloe

7. The Shout

9. The Blue Cockade

10. The Bristol Slaver

11. Santiago

12. Galway Farmer

x

Track List: Dark Fields

1. Cousin Jack

2. Longdog

3. The Shout

4. Wessex Medley

5. Dark Fields

6. The Train

7. Flora

8. Crazy Boy

9. The Warlike Lads Of Russia

10. Farewell Angelina

11. The Bristol Slaver

12. High Germany/Molly Oxford

x

Track List: The Long Way Home

1. Breme Fell At Hastings

2. Hallows' Eve

3. Hambledon Fair

4. The Long Way Home

5. Keep Hauling

6. 'Twas On One April's Morning

7. Sweet Bella

8. The Old Lych Way

9. Walk With Me (When The Sun Goes Down)

10. Virginia

11. John Harrison's Hands

12. Mesopotamia

x

Track List: Wake The Union (Bonus Track Version)

1. Haunt You

2. Company Town

3. Now You Know

4. Katrina

5. Cruel River

6. Aunt Maria

7. Coming Home

8. Reunion Hill

9. No Man's Land

10. Seven Curses

11. Home To A Million Thoughts

12. Who Gets To Feel Good

13. Stop Copying Me

14. King Of The World

15. Thanks

16. The Boys Of Summer

Comments

Report as inappropriate
loganberrypi e 1
Been a fan for years now, and asked that same question - how to get them to the US? These are brilliant musicians, amazing songwriters and are among the purest distillation s of English folk playing today.
Steve and Phil - please come to the USA!!!
Report as inappropriate
loganberrypi e 1
Amazing group. Is there any way to get these guys to come to the US?
Report as inappropriate
faxman526
I got to see them in aug while on holiday in London at a free concert in Carary Wharf by pure luck of picking that evening to head down there. It was an awesome show that also featured Walsh & Pound as well as Phil Henry & Hannah Martin..beau t i f u l concert under the stars...and free to boot.
Report as inappropriate
maybe but they have such a huge following in the UK and Europe that they migyt struggle, they are playing the Albert Hall again next year. They are use awesome and have Miranda Sykes on double bass who adds much to their sound. If you haven't caught Arrogance Ignorance and Greed get the CD it is their best
Report as inappropriate
does anyone know if they will EVER tour the US again?
Report as inappropriate
great listen!! "Tall Ships" is mind numbing.
Report as inappropriate
ckandt9
OMG you do not have "Country life" or "Roots"
Report as inappropriate
These guys are absolutely awsome. Timeless.
Report as inappropriate
I've loved Show of Hands since seeing them on their first US tour in 1996. Great, great stuff!

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