Show of Hands consists of songwriter Steve Knightley and multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer. The seeds for the band were planted when the two were teenagers playing in their hometown of Exeter, Great Britain. The two played together in various pubs in clubs around Europe, often to disastrous results, and they eventually stopped performing together when high school ended. Knightley went to college while Beer dove right into the music industry. The two stayed apart through the '80s, but found each other both living in the same area, and decided to begin playing shows together again. By 1991, they realized they still worked well together, and began to play under the Show of Hands name. Their first recordings were self-recorded efforts that were released on cassette tape (these have since been re-released onto CD under the title Backlog) and they managed to break into the folk festival circuit through their efforts. They also formed a separate band, Alianza, which was made up of the two men and three Chilean musicians who had been exiled. This was only a short-lived project, but it opened their eyes to world music. They began to put together a collection of exotic instruments, writing many songs that utilized these new discoveries. They also started releasing CDs independently, and drafted producer Gerard O'Farrell into the fold as their sound engineer. He eventually became their manager, and produced the album that finally got them noticed by the British press, 1996's Lie of the Land. They built a huge following from this new exposure, leading their following tour to include venues such as London's Royal Albert Hall. A live album from that specific performance became a big success, and this moment in the spotlight led to several more successful independent releases. The band still even plays the English countryside, where they first started playing together years before. ~ Bradley TorreanoPortions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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