Catch the Phil Beer Band

Salisbury Journal: Phil Beer Phil Beer

NOT many people are equally as at home playing to a village audience as they are selling out the Albert Hall.

But Phil Beer, one half of hugely popular folk duo Show of Hands, is quite happy to bring his love of music to the smallest venues as well as to capacity crowds in London.

And he will be returning to Salisbury Arts Centre with his own group, the Phil Beer Band, on Sunday.

“With Show of Hands we’ve sold out the Albert Hall four times. It’s our spiritual home,” he said. “But I love coming to Salisbury. The Arts Centre is a great space. It’s perfect for this show – just the right size.”

Beer has played on albums for the likes of the Rolling Stones and Steve Harley, and has been playing folk and rock music for 35 years.

Drawn from his love of traditional tunes and American country rock, the Phil Beer Band comprises six talented musicians, each with musical careers in their own right.

The band features guitarist and singer Emily Slade, melodeonist and tunesmith Gareth Turner, Nick Quarmby on bass, Steve Crickett on drums and Olivia Dunn (Mad Dog MaCree) on fiddle.

“They are all very nice people, and all have become quite well known in their own right,” says Beer. “It makes for a welcome change for us to play together.”

Beer, who lives in Exeter, will be spending his summer combining his love of music with that of sailing, giving workshops on board a ship, in conjuntion with a project run by young people’s sailing charity The Island Trust. And after that he will be embarking on a winter tour with Show of Hands.

Now 60, he is as busy as ever and has every intention of being so for the foreseeable future. “I still enjoy it,” he explains, “so I have no intention of hanging up the guitar just yet.”

And he says folk is undergoing a resurgence at present, with more up-and-coming young bands, and more young people interested in the music and in hearing the great play.

“There does seem to be an undercurrent in folk at the moment,” he says.

“We were at the Folk Awards recently and after that there were people like Simon Mayo and Zoe Ball talking about it and saying that they preferred it to the Brit Awards.

“There are so many young bands and young people who are interested.”

The Phil Beer Band will be at Salisbury City Hall on Sunday from 8pm.

Tickets are £14, or £12 for concessions.

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