FOLK music greats Show Of Hands return to Wirral later this month for the International Guitar Festival.
Singer/songwriter Steve Knightley, multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer and guests will appear at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton on Saturday, November 24 as part of their Wake The Union tour.
Joining them is regular guest, double bass player and singer Miranda Sykes. Supporting them throughout the tour are Canadian musicians Matt Gordon and Leonard Podolak.
The tour coincides with the release Show Of Hands first new album in three years, Wake The Union.
Steve told the Globe: "It's our first time at the Floral Pavilion, but we’re very much looking forward to playing there."
No strangers to Wirral, the band were regular performers at Pacific Road Arts Centre, the Woodside venue which closed earlier this year.
Steve said: "It's such a shame that Pacific Road has gone, because we loved performing there.
"However, we hope as many fans as possible wlll come and see us in New Brighton on November 24."
Described by former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel as "One of the great English bands”, Show of Hands formed 20 years ago.
They were winners of Radio 2 folk awards for best duo and best original song in 2010, but have enjoyed equal success in their solo careers.
Asked the secret of their success, Steve told the Globe: "I think the secret of our longevity as a duo is that we know to leave eachother alone when we’re not working.
"We've known eachother for years, but when we're not on tour or recording we're not in eachother's pockets and don't know get involved in eachother’s private lives.
"Phil spends his time on his boat and I watch rugby."
The tour marks a reunion for Steve Knightley and special guest Leonard Podolak, who were two of the songwriters involved in the recent Cecil Sharp Project, which was commissioned by Shrewsbury Folk Festival and EFDSS.
Performances of the finished work served as Podolak's introduction to the UK folk scene.
On touring with Leonard, Steve continued: "It's great working with Leonard again. He’s an old-time banjo player playing Appalachian stuff. The tour's gone down very well so far."
Podolak is known for his work with the Juno/Grammy award-winning Canadian band The Duhks and is an acclaimed five-string claw hammer banjo player.
His partnership with fiddler, clog dancer and harmonica player Matt Gordon, who took part in the London debut of Riverdance, promises a lively entertainment-packed opener for the Show of Hands tour.
The Floral Pavilion show will feature a set of old-time traditional fiddle and banjo music, outbreaks of clog-dancing and "hamboning", a traditional form of African American body percussion.
The band’s new album, Wake the Union, was released last month on their own label.
Celebrating both English and North American music it is described as "a journey through the heart of two landscapes united by a common tongue and musical heritage".
It is their first major studio album since Arrogance Ignorance and Greed, which won the Best Original Song award for Knightley and Show of Hands the Best Duo accolade at the Radio Two folk awards in 2010.
Steve said: "The new album is a real cross-over for us and quite different to what we usually produce, as we do more American songs."
Tickets for the November 24 show, which starts at 8pm, are from the box office on 666 0000 or www.bestguitarfest.com