Ahead of the release of the new Show of Hands album Wake The Union, multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer shares the 30 pivotal moments in his musical life.
1953 – Born, Devon.
1959 – Given uke by neighbour.
1961/62 – First guitar – a Tatra.
1964 onwards – learned to play mandolin and fiddle.
1964/65 – Hear Davey Graham’s Folk, Blues & Beyond. Understand more about folk and blues! Realise what the Stones are up to!
1968/69 – Go to Jolly Porter folk club in Exeter. Hear Tony Rose and Pete and Chris Coe – can’t remember which order.
Colin Wilson and I play regularly at the Double Locks folk club. Meet Paul Downes and Steve Knightley.
1969/70 – Hear Peter Bellamy play amazing blues at someone’s house after a gig in Exeter.
1970 – Play gigs with Colin and become computer tech at Exeter University.
1970 – Hear Full House. See Fairport at Exeter Uni. Start playing more fiddle! Work backwards into Swarbrick and Carthy and am inspired.
1971/2 – See The Who Live at the Great Hall. Best show I’ve ever been to!
1974/75 – Join Paul Downes in Brighton.
Go on the road!
Hear Dransfields at Sussex university. Blown away!
1976 – John Bickford plays Jackson Browne’s For A Dancer. David Lindley’s astonishing fiddle solo completely resets my way of playing. Stop doing bad Swarbrick imitations and quit naff tune playing.
1979 – Join Mike Oldfield Band. Discover that Art Rock is not for me!
1980 – Form Arizona Smoke Revue. Learn that one banjo is enough!!
1983 – Join Albion Band. Discover that musical theatre/acting is not for me either. Turn down all future opportunities to do it; 1990 – The last and loosest line up of the Albions turns out to be by far the best in my time. Shame no studio album ever resulted.
1986 – Steve K turns up at Wimborne festival and plays Exile – astounded. Still his best song IMHO.
1986 – One morning doing a session on Johnny Coppin’s Laurie Lee album Edge Of Day in Malvern. Same evening in Olympic in London putting fiddle and mandolin on a Stones track. Variety is the spice etc…
1988 – Suggest SK and I start doing acoustic gigs. We record a couple of cassette albums in his attic. Sell so many at a gig in Winchester that we can be found making more copies backstage during the break to sell at the end. Cottage industry or what?
1991 – Show of Hands goes on the road. First 70-date tour. Many, many more after that. Possibly one of the very few acoustic bands that employs and pays a sound engineer before ourselves in order to ensure absolute consistency of presentation.
1992 – Invited to support Ralph McTell on an extensive UK tour. We find our core audience.
Tour relentlessly to build a following and record several albums. Albums consistently sell in excellent numbers despite sometimes lukewarm critique. Several forays to other countries but ultimately conclude that our audience is uniquely English and we concentrate on this and this alone.
1996 – Show of Hands plays first of Albert Hall shows. A huge success and mould-breaking in many ways. If you build it they will come… Carry on with the formula steadily until the making of Country Life in 2003. Critically well received but we feel we’ve reached a watershed. The audience continues to grow organically without any significant media breakthroughs. Untroubled by mainstream radio and/or television to any great degree.
2006 – Enlist Simon Emmerson of AfroCelt fame to produce a new album entitled Witness. We make the album twice, once according to our formula, then dismantled and reconstructed by Simon and his oppo Simon Massey into the album that was released. The critics like it, our core audience become more uneasy. We are delighted with the album and benefit from the learning process involved.
2006/2009 – I produce a number of albums for various artistes including critically acclaimed ones for Jackie Oates and singer/songwriter Tom Palmer.
2008 – Guest with lifetime heroes Little Feat at Trowbridge Festival. The simple act of playing one of the three or four greatest songs ever written (Willin’) with most of the original players has a profound effect. I can now retire happy.
2010 – AIG becomes Show of Hands’ 20th and most critically acclaimed album to date. Even people who have been lukewarm over the last two decades give it the thumbs up!! Our core audience definitely not very happy with it. Once again, the production is in other hands, i.e. Stuart Hanna. I personally have a tremendous time making this album and learn an immense amount.
2012 – Show of Hands play their fourth Albert Hall show, once again untroubled by main stream media attention. I quite like being a secret personally.
2012 – Show of Hands release their 23rd album – Wake The Union. We co-produce again for the first time in a while together with trusted hand Mark Tucker at the helm. Steve K writes some of the best new songs for years and is reviewing them even as we record. We have a large choice of songs and have the luxury of rejecting those that don’t quite make it. I bring into play a lot of the new things I’ve learnt over the last six years. You’re never too old etc.
2012 – Achieve an ambition to combine music workshops with sailing the traditional Gaff Cutter, Pegasus. This trip heralds the first of many over the next few years I hope!!
Catch them touring through October and November 2012 starting tonight!
|June 21st 2013 http://www.propergandaonline.com||Show Of Hands in Newquay||Lusty Glaze Beach||United Kingdom|
|Time: 6:30pm. Box office: 01637 872444. Address: Lusty Glaze Road,Cornwall. Venue phone: 01637 872444. Buy tickets|