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Steeleye play on with their story spanning four decades

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: December 06, 2013

The current line-up of Steeleye Span has been the longest-serving in the band's 42-year history

The current line-up of Steeleye Span has been the longest-serving in the band's 42-year history

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With a career that has taken in an astounding six decades, Steeleye Span is not just an iconic 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 in 2011 the band added not one but two new members. Guitarist Julian Littman and multi-instrumentalist Peter Zorn. Julian's career could boast performances 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 before coming to Steeleye had been a long time member of Richard Thompson's band.

As ever, though, there were still some very familiar faces. Maddy Prior the voice of the band for all but five of their 42 years together, as well as enjoying a successful solo career and series of collaborations.

Peter Knight, fiddle player extraordinaire, a unique musician who provides the bridging point between classical and folk music.

Rick Kemp who first picked up the bass in Steeleye Span in 1972 and was part of the band's greatest commercial success in the following years and drummer Liam Genockey another legendary name in the Steeleye circles, a musician as equally home playing jazz and world music.

Now having established themselves live over the last two years as a six-piece, Steeleye Span are emerging on another new exciting chapter.

This time the band has looked even further afield and has found inspiration in the work of famous British author, Terry Pratchett.

Famous for his series of Discworld novels Wiltshire-based Terry is a long-standing fan of the band, even booking them to play at his sixtieth birthday party.

Now the two are to collaborate on a brand new project, a record based on Pratchett's Wintersmith novel.

The subject matter is completely appropriate for Steeleye, a tale of ancient rituals and secret folk dances that perfectly complements their previous work while taking it in new directions. The resulting album will be released towards the end of the year.

Fans will be able to get a taste of these new songs along with the familiar classics and gems on the band's forthcoming UK tour, which calls at Bristol on December 18, and Salisbury on December 19.

Steeleye Span are playing St George's Bristol, on Wednesday, December 18. To book tickets call the box office on 0845 4024001 or visit www.stgeorgesbristol.co.uk

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