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Isle dates for Show of Hands mainman

By West Briton  |  Posted: May 22, 2014

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SHOW of Hands' acclaimed frontman Steve Knightley has created something of a musical monster – with his hugely popular Grow Your Own Gig tour.

He arrives on the Isles of Scilly next week.

Earlier this year he set out on a mission – to play as many village halls and "untapped" grass roots community venues in England as he could muster.

Grow Your Own Gig has lived up to its name, growing rapidly, with bookings now being taken into 2015 and, in response to countless requests, the release of Off the Beaten Track, a new CD mirroring the village hall set list.

Steve said: "The first two months of the tour have proved a great success; we've been overwhelmed by the level of interest people have shown.

"I have played in remote places I've never been before and met completely new audiences and promoters, many of whom were putting on a gig in their community for the very first time.

"Village halls are focal points for rural life, attracting a unique audience and it makes it as much a social occasion as a music event."

Steve is keeping a video diary of the tour at www.facebook.com/steveknightley

One of the British folk roots scene's biggest names, the multi BBC award-winning singer-songwriter has for 21 years played key venues all over the UK with his Show of Hands' bandmate Phil Beer, topped with no less than four spectacular Royal Albert Hall sell-outs.

But this year, with Show of Hands off the road until the autumn, he takes a break from city theatres and major concert venues to play over 70 solo off-the-beaten-track gigs in venues the length and breadth of England, from Cornwall to the Borders, between now and September.

Accompanying the tour is a new live souvenir DVD, Songs From The English Countryside – a mix of Knightley originals and traditional songs. Recorded at Matthews Hall in his home town of Topsham, it includes one of his most famous songs – the BBC award-nominated Country Life as well as Cruel River, Cutthroats, Come By, Crooks and Conmen, Low Down In The Broom and 'Twas On One April's Morning.

Steve added: "As the tour went on we also had many requests for a CD reflecting the live gig so now I have also recorded a new CD – Off the Beaten Track. People can listen again to the complete village hall set they've just heard without any frills or overdubs."

The 16-track CD features tracks ranging from Knightley originals like Widecombe Fair and Red Diesel to an unlikely melding of American singer Pink's Try with Dylan's Boots Of Spanish Leather and a version of Lau's Ghosts.

Latest dates to be added are on the Isles of Scilly – including a gig in an award-winning fish and chip restaurant on St Martin's on Wednesday, May 28.

Adam's Fish Restaurant, owned by Adam and Fiona Morton, was voted Best Takeaway in the 2008 BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards and provides a large enough space for Steve to entertain residents and holidaymakers alike.

The following night (May 29) he will head to the main island of St Mary's where he will perform an 8pm gig at the Methodist Chapel.

See www.growyourowngig.co.uk for more details.

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