Faith, Folk & Anarchy was temporary band project formed jointly by Martyn Joseph, Tom Robinson and Steve Knightley. The three songwriters first sang together in an impromptu and unrehearsed performance on the main stage at GREENBELT FESTIVAL in 2000.
"Faith Folk and Anarchy" more or less sums up what happened on stage that night - and inspired them to work further together on an album and tour under this name. The album was recorded by MICK DOLAN in Exeter during December 2001
MARTYN JOSEPH - by Steve Knightley
In 1998 the SHOW OF HANDS tour manager, Will Thomas, included Martyn's "Cardiff Bay" as part of our before and after show compilation music. I remember being struck at the time by the strong sense of community and family that the song conveyed. Here was a writer who knew where he was from and what he believed in and who wasn't afraid of being considered parochial or sentimental. We all spent that entire autumn tour listening to that distinctive nasal, tender-tough voice resonating around various concert halls as they emptied and filled and I was eager to meet the man himself. A year later Tom and Martyn were headlining Greenbelt 99 in Cheltenham. I went along to listen and found first myself jamming backstage and then joining them onstage for a handful of impromptu songs. Martyn was as open , approachable and direct as his music had suggested. Indeed in performance he achieves that rare unity where the song, the sound and the person all merge to make one complete statement. And like Mr R, Martyn has that easy access to Rock and Roll dynamics in his playing and singing that allows an effortless gear change from the gentlest ballad to the most raucous holler. After the show we all talked generally about the possibility of a collaborative project in the future. Such conversations almost inevitably come to nought and I'm just delighted that with the help of Chris Jaeger at Speaking Volumes all of our loose talk has born such musical fruit. www.martynjoseph.co.uk
TOM ROBINSON by Martyn Joseph
I first met Tom Robinson on the set of a TV programme in Belfast called 'The Kelly Show' in 1992. I was somewhat in awe as this was a guy I had listened to as a teenager, even then aware that bland mainstream music was never going to cut it for me. The Tom Robinson Band represented energy and passion, and though I wasn't quite sure what it was, they had something to say. All those years on Tom still had it all, but also a gentleness and kindness that soon made me feel at ease and, indeed, welcome. We have remained firm friends ever since and have managed to collaborate on a number of songs and gigs. The most endearing thing for me about Tom is that he is still running with as much passion and insight as he did when I first heard him. He has 'kept the faith' and is very much qualified to hold up the mantle of 'anarchy' provider for this project. As well as a singer of songs, his voice has been found recently on many a radio programme as a presenter. In a business that is so often devoid of clarity, common sense, justice and meaning, he marches on and will stir it up for anyone who will listen. Let's hope we do, and also that he never grows tired of the world's indifference to it all. www.tomrobinson.com
STEVE KNIGHTLEY by Tom Robinson
The term "singer-songwriter" has become badly devalued in the past 20 years. We've all endured the Neil Young / Suzanne Vega wannabe perched on a stool, picking lifelessly at an acoustic guitar and warbling about man's inhumanity to man. This low-octane byproduct of Anglo-American pop is oblivious to tradition - and indeed to realities of everyday life - part of a cultural dislocation that gives us cowboys from Rochdale and bluesmen from Surbiton. "FAITH FOLK AND ANARCHY" has given me the chance to work with two songwriters of a very different kind: artisan performers with grit, purpose and a true sense of community. Martyn has been my friend and musical collaborator for 10 years, but performing with Steve Knightley has been a fresh and invigorating adventure. When I first heard Steve perform his songs full-tilt with SHOW OF HANDS (his duo with PHIL BEER) I was gobsmacked. Here were gripping human stories set in a dark contemporary landscape - expertly sketched by the broad brush of a master craftsman. Songs written for impact - for simple survival in the bearpit atmosphere of the band's early pub gigs. And some songs in the Steve Knightley songbook are so utterly timeless, they're widely performed as "traditional" in folk clubs around the country these days. To me, Steve's writing represents a unique body of work deeply rooted in a sense of time and place. This opportunity to work with both him and Martyn - and to perform their extraordinary and passionate material - was simply too good to miss. www.showofhands.co.uk