Steve Knightley

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Steve Knightley
Steve Knightley performing at Harberton Village Hall, Devon, 20 May 2009
Background information
Born (1954-04-30) 30 April 1954 (age 60)
Southampton, England
Genres Roots music, Folk-rock, Folk music
Occupations Musician, songwriter, record producer, teacher
Instruments Vocals, Guitar, mandolin
Years active 1990–present
Associated acts Show of Hands

Steve Knightley (born 1954 in Southampton, England) is a singer-songwriter, musician and one half of British acoustic roots duo Show of Hands.[1]


Knightley was born in Southampton, Hampshire, but by the time he was five years old his family had moved to East Devon, where he attended school in Exeter and Exmouth.

Knightley was first attracted to acoustic music listening to early Joan Baez and Bob Dylan records, and he started playing the guitar and mandolin at the age of 14. While still at school, he performed in folk clubs and bars in and around East Devon, where he came to know Phil Beer, a multi-instrumentalist. After leaving school, Knightley studied politics and history in Coventry, and then completed a postgraduate certificate in education at Sussex University near Brighton. While attending the university, Knightley teamed up with double bass player Warwick Downes, and for two years the duo performed around the Brighton area.

From 1979 until 1985, Knightley lived in London, working as a supply teacher and performing regularly on the pub rock circuit with his three bands Short Stories, The Cheats and Total Strangers. On occasions Beer would stand in for absent band members, and Knightley returned the favour by playing bass (under the pseudonym "Gene Vogel") for the Arizona Smoke Revue, the group Beer was in at the time.

Knightley left London in 1985 and moved to rural Dorset, where he and his first wife opened a guest house. He also worked as a supply teacher at Beaminster secondary school, and gave guitar lessons, most notably to Polly (PJ) Harvey. The following year Knightley met up again with Beer, who was then a member of the Albion Band. When Beer's commitments would allow, the two performed as a duo and began laying the groundwork for what would become the Show of Hands' first recordings.

Beer left the Albion Band in 1991, and from then on the two appeared regularly as Show of Hands in pubs, clubs and bars. In 1992, the duo got together with a group of exiled Chilean musicians, and toured and released an album under the name Alianza. Knightley continued working at Beaminster as a part-time teacher of media studies, history and music until 1994, when he left to concentrate on his music career.

Knightley regularly intersperse his Show of Hands live work with his own tours, usually accompanied by young Devon singer-songwriter, Jenna Witts. However their early 2010 tour, their fourth together, is likely to be their last for the foreseeable future as Witts will be touring extensively on her own. It remains to be seen if Knightley will find a new musical partner or continue touring as a solo performer.

Since 2011 Knightley has been a Patron of the annual Shrewsbury Folk Festival.[2]



Show of Hands[edit]


  1. ^ Torreano, Bradley. "Biography: Show of Hands". Allmusic. Retrieved 24 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Shrewsbury Folk Festival official website, accessed 27/08/2013

External links[edit]