Show Of Hands – Country Life

Long-serving English roots band unmasked

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Guesting on Tom Robinson’s Radio 6 show recently, he blind-played a Show Of Hands track and invited me to guess its provenance. I hazarded Kentucky. The answer turned out to be Devon. I tried it on friends and nobody had a clue. Yet the West Country acoustic duo have serious form as stalwarts of the English roots scene. Phil Beer has played mandolin for The Rolling Stones (a distinction shared with Ry Cooder) and Steve Knightley was all over Mick Jagger’s last solo record. Their latest, Country Life, cleverly mixes English and American influences with pleasing echoes of both Richard Thompson and Steve Earle. A revelation.

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