With a career that has taken in an astounding six decades, Steeleye Span is not just a legendary name in British music but also a link to the classic days of rock and folk music. Contemporaries of the likes of Led Zeppelin and Fairport Convention, they have gone on to change the face of folk music forever, taking it from small clubs and festivals into the world of chart topping albums and international tours.
Part of that incredible story has been the individuals that have contributed to the band’s history. Steeleye Span has provided a home for a long list of some of the world’s finest musicians - Martin Carthy, John Kirkpatrick, Tim Harries, Bob Johnson, to name but a few. Of late, the band has achieved another significant milestone as the 2003 line-up went on to become the longest serving in the group’s history.
This being Steeleye Span, however, nothing stays the same forever and the band approach their 2011 tour with not one but two new members. As ever, though, you will find some very familiar faces. Maddy Prior has been the voice of the band for all but five of their forty two years together, as well as enjoying a successful solo career and series of collaborations. She is joined by fiddle player extraordinaire Peter Knight, a unique musician who provides the bridging point between classical and folk music. Rick Kemp first picked up the bass in Steeleye Span in 1972 and was part of the band’s greatest commercial success in the following years. Drummer Liam Genockey is another legendary name in Steeleye circles, a musician as equally home playing jazz and world music.
To this impressive list now come to new names. Guitarist Julian Littman has performed with the likes of Gerry Rafferty, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Barbara Dickson, Carlene Carter, Paul Jones, Malcolm McLaren, Steve Harley, Debbie Bonham, and Pete Townsend, as well being a respected songwriter. American Pete Zorn, however, is a multi-instrumentalist who has been a long time member of Richard Thompson’s band.
Now playing as a six-piece for the first time in many years, Steeleye Span approaches this year’s live tour with their usual vigor and the luxury of twenty albums’ worth of material to chose from. Expect to hear many of the familiar classics next to gems, both old and new, all delivered with a burning passion and unrivalled experience.