Phil is one of the most popular ambassadors for acoustic roots music. A dazzling instrumentalist, he is perhaps best known as a top flight fiddler and plays in the all-star line-up, Feast of Fiddles. But his skills don’t stop there, he also plays slide, Spanish and tenor guitar, mandocello, viola, mandolin and South American cuatro, not to mention contributing rich vocals.
Born in Exminster, Devon, he started to play fiddle, guitar and mandolin while still at school in Teignmouth and habitually credits Davey Graham’s Folk, Blues & Beyond as his inspiration for acoustic music.
He played his first gig at 14 and started working as a duo with Paul Downes in 1974 (their Live at Nettlebed CD has recently been released). He was then in the Arizona Smoke Revue and a key member of Johnny Coppin’s band. His impressive track record also includes touring with Mike Oldfield and being a member of the feted Albion Band from 1984-1991. Show of Hands became a full-time partnership in the early 90s, a band that has gone on to sell out the Royal Albert Hall three times and who were voted Best Live Act, by the public, at the 2004 Folk Awards.
Phil, who also has his own Phil Beer Band, famously guested on the Rolling Stones Steel Wheels album and Steve Harley’s Poetic Justice.
As a composer, Phil has written many numbers including the stunning instrumental The Falmouth Packet for SoH’s album Witness.
As a solo artist he released Rhythm Methodist in 2004, a double album of songs and instrumentals (re-released on the Talking Elephant label this year) while his enviable versatility is shown in the imminent Hard Works compilation of two earlier albums and a long-awaited five disc boxed set of archive, new and live music and video.
Phil is also in demand as a producer, co-producing (with Steve Knightley) Jez Lowe’s Jack Commons Anthem among others. This year Phil formed his own label, Chudleigh Roots, producing Jackie Oates’ highly acclaimed second album, The Violet Hour and an album by Singer Songwriter Tom Palmer, and most recently Isambardes ‘Telling Tales.
In the meantime, Show of Hands go from strength to strength with the critically acclaimed release, Arrogance, Ignorance and Greed and two great tours to finish off 2010.
Tickets £14, Members £11.90, Concessions £12.60