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Author Topic: Show of Hands - On Tour and with a new Album 'Witness'  (Read 45163 times)
tarda (Gill)
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« Reply #60 on: May 14, 2006, 01:18:35 PM »

What's the title of Phil's double cd please.. not sure if I have it..

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« Reply #61 on: May 14, 2006, 05:43:04 PM »


Met them after - which was erm, interesting. 

Are you talking about the height difference or was Steve a bit distracted - he does seem to need to wind down a bit after, completely the opposite to Phil. I'm sure Steve's really nice when he's relaxed though.

I'm sure he is but if he needs this "wind down" period after a gig then he shouldn't come out to face his public and be so dismissive and disinterested in what they have to say.  Phil was a gentleman and friendly and Miranda was quietly dignified.  Enough said.

They are all very talented and I love the music.  It's just a shame that (in my opinion) Steve spoils it by being so arrogant.

I think Phil's double CD will be next for my plastic friend to help me out with!

I used to have a similar view - Phil was always affable, Steve relatively aloof when I first used to see them.  However, since then and getting to know them better individually at smaller venues etc, Steve's diffidence is basically shyness, but you've got a point Maj - that said, a double act in which only half meets the public doesn't quite work, does it?  But when you get to know them Steve is a really nice guy, generous and very supportive - his engagement with the 30 people who attended the recent workshop in Canterbury certainly showed that.
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tarda (Gill)
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« Reply #62 on: May 14, 2006, 06:32:02 PM »

I got the impression it was shyness when i saw him solo at west chiltington footlights last year.
If he was so aloof why would he have bothered to stand at the back of the hall in the interval to chat while we were all scrambling for cups of tea (yes, really) etc. he could have stayed back stage, or put himself safely behind the merch stall.
He did look very uncomfy standing there until someone spoke to him. Funny place, West Chiltington.
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« Reply #63 on: May 14, 2006, 09:41:33 PM »

Anyone in London on Wednesday lunchtime - this just in from SoH towers in Devon....

Steve & Phil will be doing a lunchtime showcase at the BBC Club West One, 99 Great Portland St (Gildea St. Entrance), London W1A 1AA from 1.00 to 1.30pm. We have 30 free-entry places to allocate for Show of Hands fans so the first people to apply by email will go on the guest list.
Email to info@showofhands.co.uk and we'll notify you if you've won.
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mikec
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« Reply #64 on: May 15, 2006, 04:47:12 PM »

Bu**er, just when I've finished working in London as well  Sad
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« Reply #65 on: May 15, 2006, 05:32:30 PM »

. Funny place, West Chiltington.
Indeed! Has a lovely atmosphere though, pity it's so far out in the stix.
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tarda (Gill)
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« Reply #66 on: May 15, 2006, 08:50:25 PM »

. Funny place, West Chiltington.
Indeed! Has a lovely atmosphere though, pity it's so far out in the stix.

I gather that Steve Knightley is a friend of Jerry Page who runs Footlights with his wife, which is why they get the SK solo gigs.

They do a great job - I just wish that west chilt would agree to some streetlights. Most of the houses aren't even in sight of the road so why not have them?
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« Reply #67 on: May 17, 2006, 04:22:23 PM »

Anyone hereabouts make it to the BBC gig yesterday?
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« Reply #68 on: May 18, 2006, 02:12:18 PM »

I would have done - but in a sleepy haze, put it in my diary for the wrong day, and then forgot until it was too late.....d'oh!
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« Reply #69 on: May 21, 2006, 08:53:07 PM »

A Review of Gig and Album

Thursday 18th May, and an extremely windy night in Finchley, and a gig care of a workmate who expressed an interest in SoH appearing at the Arts Depot.

First off, the venue has remarkable lighting, cursing self for not taking camera, and excellent sound, and was, like all gigs on this tour, sold out. The audience were appreciative throughout and the trio, for SoH are always so on tour now, clearly enjoyed the attention and were smiling and joking - a factor that seems to reflect in their quality of playing and singing. And oh, wasn't it wonderful!

Of the 4 SoH gigs I have been too, this was easily the most accomplished. The set list was well balanced and the new songs blend into the old with no problems (more later), in fact I found myself waiting for the Witness tracks while old favourites were playing (still no 'Cars'  Sad ). Crow On The Cradle, despite being Mrs Keith's favourite, seemed to go on a bit compared to the life that was given to other songs such as the ever improving 'Cousin Jack', especially when Phil was given space to show his mastery of guitar, fiddle and cuatro.

Just a mention of Miranda, who's solo spot was mesmerising and voice was angelic - she seems to have gained confidence with her new figure and is happy to belt songs out when needed, harmonise like a good raspberry ripple with vanilla, or plaintively call-respond as on the peerless vocal duet 'Union Street'. And Steve, shy, aloof Steve, was nothing of the sort tonight; I went up to him with CD in hand and said "my wife was really upset she couldn't come tonight so asked me to give you a big snog - but could you sign this instead?" to a big laugh, then we chatted about the meaning of "Witness" for a bit before I had to go. Maybe he had read this...


"Witness" by Show Of Hands

Ok, Country Life is still probably the best collection of songs SoH have ever released, but Witness is definitely a fine album, and is growing on me all the time. I find myself humming tracks, which is always a good sign, and the variety and depth of the music is clearly a change up in gear from CL, which although beautiful, does not have the variety of tone and word that Witness manages. A quick track-by-track run through...

Witness : An intense and vivid description of a way of life that may or may not exist in the Exe Valley. I asked Steve whether this was a call to arms (to which he smiled) or a submission to fate - and there are clear patches of ecology, faith and loss depending how you listen. This is an important song.

Roots : The "Country Life" of this album, they sit side by side in describing the vicious tide of uniformity and modernism : "And everyone stares at a great big screen" - hints of 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 maybe. The introduction of the wonderful Port Isaac boatmen choir hits sceptics round the face who think that tradition is 'boring'.

Dive : I prefer the recorded version to the live rendition - there is an atmosphere of claustrophobia that this track puts across, the feeling of losing time and then opening up to live life as though the lack of time under the water is reflected in the lack of time we all have on Earth. Simple but beautiful.

Falmouth Picket / Haul Away Joe : The first part equals the best of Fairport's instrumentals with no less than 3 fiddles, cuatro, melodeon and Seth Lakeman on guitar, and then Phil shows the raw joy of a classic sea shanty, with perhaps touches of Jim Moray bringing it up to date - this track could go on for 20 minutes without me tiring of it!

Undertow : A song of lost chances and the soulless winter in the far West Country. Phil's e-bow seems to suggest the sun that the subjects are seeking, but never quite get to. Miranda's bass backing the spoken end and bright voice on the next, adventurous take on George Harrison's "If I needed someone" suggests the band and not afraid to try new ideas. Some may hate the harmonies and low end treatments of this next track, but I fully approve, especially as it contrasts with the cold of...

Innocents' Song / Gwithian : Love the double tracked fiddle and resonant bass of this track - another demonstration of Phil Beer's songwriting talent.

Union Street (Last Post) : A very unusual and striking change of direction here, with piano, duet vocals and complete absence of Phil. Like my favourite track on Country Life, "Hard Shoulder", Steve shows how well he can tell a story, this time of separated lovers in Plymouth and overseas.

The Bet : Not a great track, seems to drag on a bit, maybe because I'm not interested in horse racing and betting, but the spoken story over a lights backing doesn't really work here.

Ink Devil : Possibly a song of stolen identity or schizophrenia, and an oblique move into a pure folksy sound that would have been at home in any period. Ok, but maybe needs developing more.

Scratch : A similar line-up, with less fiddles, than the Falmouth Picket, and this type of sound is suiting the songs better and better. I don't blame SoH for pushing into mainstream a bit - the subject matter, of celebrity and lotteries, is contemporary, and demonstrates that mandolins and fiddles don't have to be sidelined. I'm waiting for the first use of electric guitar.

All I'd Ever Lost : Heart stoppingly beautiful, if slow, almost deliberately so. Again, unusual treatments of instruments add atmosphere to this sad tale of memories in the attic.

So, in all, a great album with even more growing potential. Another two years and we'll be seeing a "Judas" moment on stage - and the way the band are going, that's got to be a good thing.
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mikec
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« Reply #70 on: May 21, 2006, 09:08:50 PM »

Thanks Keith, an excellent review to which I can't add anything other than if you haven't bought this Cd yet folks please do. You won't regret it
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« Reply #71 on: May 21, 2006, 09:30:15 PM »

Thanks Keith.

Any sign of a new songbook? I have the previous double edition, but I would love to have the music to country life.

Paul
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tarda (Gill)
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« Reply #72 on: May 21, 2006, 10:00:29 PM »

Have you tried on the longdogs site - they have a thread with chords/tab
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« Reply #73 on: May 21, 2006, 10:31:48 PM »

What a fantastically comprehensive review, dear Keith.  It's very much appreciated. 

Yabb Master/Administrator: would you kindly bump up Keith standing by 100 posts?  Thanks awfully.  Fez

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« Reply #74 on: May 21, 2006, 10:33:59 PM »

Have you tried on the longdogs site - they have a thread with chords/tab

Yes. Unfortunately the Country Life one is not that good.

Paul
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Keith
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« Reply #75 on: May 22, 2006, 08:34:42 AM »

Why thank you Sir Bob, darling of the (police) forces, and other plaudits / renagades. It takes a fine performance to bring the poetry out of me.
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david stevenson
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« Reply #76 on: May 22, 2006, 09:57:08 AM »


Innocents' Song / Gwithian : Love the double tracked fiddle and resonant bass of this track - another demonstration of Phil Beer's songwriting talent.


Not a go at your excellent review Keith, but Innocents' Song is actually a poem by Charles Causley set to music by the excellent Johnny Coppin.  What it does show is Phil's unerring ability to spot a good song and lay an indelible personal stamp on it.  This is certainly my favourite track from the album, although overall Steve's songs on Witness are the strongest and most mature he's ever produced - the almost unspoken fracture in the father-son relationship in the Dive and the unbearable poignancy of the exchange of letters in Union Street are just two of the many highlights. 

My favourite album of 2006 so far by a long, long way - and I'm including the Seeger Sessions when I say that!.
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I built the ships that sailed this river
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I rolled the steel at Dixons Blazes
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« Reply #77 on: May 22, 2006, 01:21:18 PM »


Innocents' Song / Gwithian : Love the double tracked fiddle and resonant bass of this track - another demonstration of Phil Beer's songwriting talent.


Not a go at your excellent review Keith, but Innocents' Song is actually a poem by Charles Causley set to music by the excellent Johnny Coppin. 

Should have said "tunewriting" but also didn't realise Johnny Coppin wrote the tune  Embarrassed
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david stevenson
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« Reply #78 on: May 22, 2006, 01:37:58 PM »


Innocents' Song / Gwithian : Love the double tracked fiddle and resonant bass of this track - another demonstration of Phil Beer's songwriting talent.


Not a go at your excellent review Keith, but Innocents' Song is actually a poem by Charles Causley set to music by the excellent Johnny Coppin. 

Should have said "tunewriting" but also didn't realise Johnny Coppin wrote the tune  Embarrassed

Johnny's version is well worth getting - I have it on a 2 CD compilation called The Journey.  And I'd also strongly recommend his latest album, The Winding Stair.  He's the best I can think of when it comes to musical settings of poetry - I also have his collaboration with Laurie Lee.
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I cried inside as they tore it all down

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« Reply #79 on: May 26, 2006, 01:46:54 PM »

Yippee!!!  Grin

It's Show of Hands tonight at the Bury Met, and if all the comments here are anything to go by then we're in for a treat.  I've had an entire SoH'less week, a rarity for me, so I'm raring to go this evening on the sing-a-long songs - I must apologise in advance to the band and the rest of the audience, particularly any Talkawhilers who are going.  Embarrassed Wink

Cheers
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