Show of Hands' double bassist goes solo in Shoreham
Miranda Sykes, bassist with Show of Hands, takes in Shoreham's Ropetackle on Thursday, April 19 on a rare solo tour which she now intends to make regular.
Hitting the road alone has felt both natural and liberating, she says.
“I released a solo album last year, and it was actually my husband who said I should go out on a solo tour,” Miranda said. “I never really did the solo thing when I started out. I did the odd folk club but I never really toured as a soloist. I pretty quickly joined a line-dance band playing country rock, and I haven’t really done any solo since. And then when Rex and I reached the end of our musical relationship together, it went back full circle to how I started. I realised that I had picked up so many songs along the way over the years playing with various bands that they actually told a story. Usually with Show of Hands I keep my head down and keep quiet, and people don’t really know what else I do.
“But now it is great. It was scary initially, but I soon found it liberating and I felt peace and calm and just all very natural on stage. It did surprise me. But it is all thanks to (Show of Hands frontman) Steve Knightley who gave me a bit of a chat. I have learnt so much from Steve and Phil (Beer) in Show of Hands, just from watching them on the stage.
“Really it is about just being yourself and not trying to be some character called Miranda Sykes that I step into on stage. It is just about being me, and people will get to hear songs about my home county and songs that have been important to me.”
Borrowed Places, released in 2017, was Miranda’s debut solo album and drew its inspiration primarily from the songs and landscape of her native Lincolnshire but seen through the eyes of someone who has lived away for many years. Now she is touring on the back of it, one woman, one bass and one guitar. This tour will also include previously-unheard tracks from the album she is planning to record this summer and release next year. As she has got the same agency representation as Show of Hands, it all fits together very nicely in terms of touring with Show of Hands and also, increasingly, starting to do her own thing.
“I think I will tour regularly, and I am working on the new album which is to be called Behind The Wall, songs that sum up the world that we live in today.”
As for the music: “I suppose it is different to Show of Hands. I don’t know how people would perceive it. It is very guitar heavy. You can’t play for songs that work on the double bass. You have just got to embrace the songs. People seeing Show of Hands will just get a small taste of me on the one song that I might do, but now it is all of me.
“I started playing the double bass when I was eight. The guitar came much later in life when I was in my mid-20s.”
For other stories by Phil, see https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2