Concert Review Knight and Spiers

Review and photography by Ben Macnair

If you take two leading musicians from different generations, an acoustically superb room in Lichfield Guildhall, and a repertoire that stretched across genres from bluegrass to folk and atmospheric soundscapes, and some festive tunes thrown in for good measure you are in for an experience to be treasured.

And so, it proved when violinist Peter Knight and Melodeon player John Spiers appeared in Lichfield as part of their national tour. With a violin, and a selection of melodeons and concertinas, they played a full set that ranged from slow airs, improvisations, and spirited jigs and reels, with all the expertise that a life time spent playing gigs provides.

Songs played ranged from the traditionally festive, such as Angels from the Realms of Glory, and the Morris dance tune The Cuckoo’s Nest, whilst The Coventry Carol took flight in an extended version, that showed Peter Knight’s luminous violin tone to great effect, with gentle support from John Spiers.

Peter Knight is perhaps best known as a member of Steeleye Span, Gigspanner, and numerous other musical projects, whilst John Spiers is best known as a founding member of Bellowhead, and their approach to music making coalesced into almost telepathic interplay over the course of the concert.

This day is Mine was the only vocal song, performed with heartfelt sincerity by Peter Knight, whilst In The Bleak Midwinter was given a minor key reading, but God Rest You Merry Gentlemen, and The Somerset Wassail helped to lift the mood as the concert reached its conclusion.

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