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Steve Knightley performing at Harberton Village Hall, Devon, 20 May 2009
30 April 1954 |
|Genres||Roots music, Folk-rock, Folk music|
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, record producer, teacher|
|Instruments||Vocals, Guitar, mandolin|
|Associated acts||Show of Hands|
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.
- Track of Words (1999)
- Faith, Folk and Anarchy (with Martyn Joseph and Tom Robinson) (2002)
- Western Approaches (with Seth Lakeman and Jenna Witts) (2004)
- Bridgerow Sessions (with Martyn Joseph) (2005)
- Cruel River (2007)
- Track Of Words - Retraced (2009)
- Live in Somerset (2011)
- Alianza (1992)
Show of Hands
- See Show of Hands