Steve Knightley – Live In Somerset
Steve Knightley is the driving force and front man with Show Of Hands. His song writing is very much respected and his subject matter is wide ranging; witty, melancholic and often traditional. This album is his first live solo release and will be supported by some live performances. 'Live In Somerset' was recorded in a 19th century former Congregational church, The David Hall, in South Petherton, Somerset. Chosen for its acoustic qualities, the hall proved perfect for capturing the live sound.
The album showcases many of Knightley's original songs as well as covers of some traditional ones. Always comfortable with his musical abilities, he changes instruments continually during this set and even sings unaccompanied, as on the album opener 'All Things Are Quite Silent'. His talents are vast and his unique style and arrangements make for an undiluted, yet stripped down set of memorable moments.
He sings unaccompanied again on the Show Of Hands Song 'The Galway Farmer'. Here the old favourite is given a new twist and the phrasing ensures that the song remains relevant. His musical ability sees him seamlessly move from one instrument to another throughout the performance; from guitar to mandocello and then to South American cuatro. Not completely solo, Knightley is joined by Phillip Henry on harmonica and dobro and Hannah Martin on fiddle; with the dobro featuring very heavily on the unique and captivating 'The Oakham Poachers'.
Showing respect to other singer song writers, he pays great compliment by covering Bruce Springsteen's 'Downbound Train' and Bob Dylan's 'The Girl From The North Country'. Not to be tied down, the acapellas 'Banks And Braes' and 'All Things Are Quite Silent', are complimented perfectly by ballads such as 'Cousin Jack' and 'Exile'.
The album has a great live feel and the audience does their upmost to add to the overall atmosphere. Overall, 'Live In Somerset' showcases Knightley as a major singer/songwriting force. His poignant take on life and situations is often sublime and his re-arrangements of classical songs and his ability to originally cover classics makes this album a must for all folk fans.