As well as being one half of Show of Hands, 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 also 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 re-union Live at Nettlebed CD was released four years ago on the Talking Elephant label). 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 four 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.