by Calum Mason
As half of English folk duo Show of Hands, Steve Knightley is a powerhouse of English roots music. With a gruff yet melodic voice and accomplished skills on a variety of acoustic instruments, Knightley is a talent not to be missed when he plays Exeter’s Phoenix on 25th January.
Lyrically, Knightley’s storytelling has always stayed true to his folk roots, creating characters and plots ranging from archaic English tales of woe to modern protest songs. Whilst confident with their standing in English folk music, Knightley and Show of Hands are always prepared to branch out, making their performances intriguing and often throwing in the unexpected. Show of Hands’ albums range from Covers, including Radiohead and Bob Dylan tracks, to politically charged albums such as 2009’s Arrogance, Ignorance and Greed, an anti-establishment statement in the wake of a worldwide financial crisis. On his solo tour, Knightley has been mixing old favourites from the band’s extensive back catalogue, folk covers and his own new work. Knightley’s witty quips and interesting anecdotes and explanations also shed light on his tales, meaning his performances are memorable for old fans whilst remaining accessible to those who are not familiar with his songs. Nonetheless, audiences are up for an evening of engrossing storytelling and folk mastery.