IN 2014 Steve Knightley, Show of Hands’ acclaimed frontman, is a man on a mission – to play as many village halls and “untapped” grass roots community venues in England as he can muster.
While this unique tour will mainly focus on village halls, it will also take in some special smaller community spaces ranging from Sussex country chapels, a 15th-century coastal fortification in Portsmouth, a West Country mill and Buckerell in Devon (a village with no hall), a venue intriguingly named Doug’s Shed. The start of the year sees Steve on a mini-tour of Cornwall, performing at Kingsand on the Rame peninsula, St Just, near Penzance, and Devoran between Truro and Falmouth.
Steve is one of the British folk roots scene’s biggest names, the multi-award-winning singer-songwriter has for 21 years played key venues all over the UK with his Show of Hands’ bandmate Phil Beer, with no less than four spectacular Royal Albert Hall sell-outs.
He won the Best Original Song category at the 2010 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, for his biting, banker-baiting Arrogance, Ignorance And Greed, and has been rated as “one of England’s greatest singer-songwriters”. He has a prolific back catalogue of inspired songs including the, award-nominated Country Life (about the demise of rural living) and crowd pleasers like Santiago and his “historical” Cornish miners’ song Cousin Jack.
With no Show of Hands tours until next autumn, his Grow Your Own Gig tour will see him performing at a bedrock of intimate rural venues between January and September, some like Kingsand and St Just, near Penzance, for the very first time; St Just being the furthest west in mainland Britain Steve has ever played.
He said: “Having written numerous songs for and about people who live and work in the English countryside I’m really looking forward to the chance to play them in their spiritual homes. Village halls are focal points for rural life, attracting a unique audience and making it as much a social occasion as a music event. I can’t wait to start and get up close and personal with a whole new audience.”
Steve’s mini-tour of Cornwall dates are Wednesday, January 29: Kingsand Village Hall, box office: www.wegottickets.com/liskeardconcertseries; Thursday, January 30: St Just’s Old Town Hall and Friday, January 31: Devoran Village Hall; box office : www.hallforcornwall.co.uk / 01872 262466.