Miranda Sykes Story
Miranda (b.1978) was 8 years old when she started playing double bass after being inspired in a school assembly. Born in Spalding, Lincolnshire, she lived in the county until 2007 when she made her first move to Devon.
Coming from a musical family (her parents played in a ceilidh band & started Spalding Folk Club) there was a dedicated “Music Room” at home with a range of instruments lying around which her two younger sisters & she would play. Folk music was always being played at home, and her summer holidays were spent at Sidmouth, Towersey & Cropredy Festivals.
It was at college that Miranda's life took an unexpected turn when she ended up leaving before the end of her Btec Pop Music course to start touring with Nottingham based band “Young Country”. She spent two years playing the Line Dance circuit and she finished her Btec course remotely whilst on the road. Her next break came from an ad her Mum saw in fRoots magazine - for a bass guitarist with folk-rock band Pressgang. She joined them in 1999 & it was with this group that the influences from her upbringing really began to show & she returned to her roots. Touring internationally with the band for two years also gave her invaluable experience at the young age of 21. Album releases included “Movers & Shakers” (1999) & “Dancing In Our Dreams” (2000).
Miranda met Robb Johnson at a folk club where she was performing a floor spot. She was over the moon to be asked to play on his album “The Big Wheel”, released in 1999. Robb then introduced Miranda to wonderful fiddle & viola player Saskia Tomkins. They went on to tour as a trio, releasing “21st Century Blues” (2001), “The Triumph Of Hope Over Experience” (2002) & “Clockwork Music” (2003).
In 2001 Miranda joined The Live Music Now! Scheme; an organisation that enables musicians to deliver participatory concerts & workshops in care homes, hospitals & a range of community & healthcare settings. This was a perfect way of satisfying her wish to get involved in some Music Therapy. Seventeen years later, she is a trainer and mentor for other musicians on the scheme.
When originally auditioning for the scheme, Miranda met the band Firebrand. They exchanged details & she subsequently joined the band, releasing the album “Lost Lady Found” in 2001.
After chatting to Bill Jones at Belper Folk Festival, Miranda was invited to tour with her band along with singer-songwriter Roger Wilson & percussionist Keith Angel. After a tour in 2001, a live album was released. Miranda went on to tour with Bill in a trio with Sarah Wright (flute & bodran) & then in a duo, featuring on her CD “Two Year Winter” released in 2003.
It was at Cropredy Festival in 2002 that Miranda landed the job playing rhythm guitar in The Phil Beer Band. She was chatting with bassist Nick Quarmby at the bar & he said “mate you could do the job”. When she said “but I only know three chords” his reply was “that’s all you need!”. She was hired & toured with the band from 2003 - 2013. During the time with the band, Phil had mentioned that Show of Hands were after a dep for the 2004 Summer Festivals. She joined Matt Clifford (keys), Rom Dobbs (percussion) with Phil & Steve in their band line-up. As a consequence of her Summer Season playing with the band, she was asked to guest with the duo in the Autumn. The live album “As You Were” was recorded during the tour and released in 2005.
14 years & 9 albums later…the rest is history!
Miranda got to know melodeon player Gareth Turner while touring in the Phil Beer Band. She had said how much she would like to get her own band together. With Gareth’s support & guidance & a short collaboration with Imogen O’Rourke, Martin Fitzgibbon & Maartin Allcock, she released a eponymously titled band album in 2005. When Imogen started a family she was replaced by Pete Zorn for live dates.
In 2004 Miranda worked with the wonderful John “Rabbit” Bundrick, Sarah Allen & Roy Dodds whilst recording Reg Meuross’ album “Short Stories”. After some tour dates with Reg, a second album “Still” was released in 2006.
After Martyn Joseph supported Show of Hands on their Autumn Tour in 2007, Miranda was invited to tour with Martyn as a duo. That same year he released an album featuring songs from the tour & Miranda on bass “Vegas”.
In 2009 Miranda was asked to dep with Bath band The Scoville Units. It was then she met mandolin player Rex Preston. After a jam at a party they decided to get some dates in as a duo & went on to tour for eight years & released three albums: “Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston” (2012), “Sing A Full Song” (2013) & The Watchmaker’s Wife (2016).
Since 2017 Miranda has been touring her solo show “Borrowed Places” and has recorded an album of the same name.
Other albums released by or featuring Miranda:
Patrick & Andrew Hawes - The Land (1995)
The Old Parrot Band - In Between The Dances (1996)
Salem Justice - Envirusfear (1996)
Seka (“Sister) - Benefit CD (1998)
Das ZK empfiehlt: Benefit CD - (1998)
Alan Burke - Tip Of The Tongue (2000)
Celtica Vol. 7 (2000)
Old Parrot Band - The Swing Bridge (2001)
Bill Jones - Bits & Pieces (2001)
Article 14 - Benefit CD (2001)
Robb Johnson - Maximum Respect (2002)
Anna Giles - Tiger Eye (2003)
Miranda Sykes - Don’t Look Down (2004)
Yellowbellies - Benefit CD (2004)
George Papavgeris - Ordinary Heroes (2004)
Leon Rosselson - Turning Silence Into Song (2005)
George Papavgeris - For My Next Trick (2005)
Jennifer Crook - Champagne Breakfast (2005)
Philip Jeays - Mr Jeays (2005)
Miranda Sykes - Bliss (2006)
Show of Hands - Witness (2006)
Martyn Joseph - Vegas (2007)
Tom Palmer (2007)
Show of Hands - Live At The Exeter Phoenix (2008)
Never Chance Your Luck Against The Sea - Benefit CD (2008)
Steve Turner - The Whirligig Of Time (2008)
Jennifer Crook - A Few Small Things (2008)
Little Johnny England - 10 Years On (2009)
Show of Hands - Arrogance, Ignorance & Greed (2009)
Phil Beer Box Set 1 (2010)
Miranda Sykes - Sweet Pea EP (2010)
Show of Hands - Covers 2 (2010)
Joseph Topping - Ghosts In The Shadows (2010)
Folk Against Facism Vol.1 (2010)
Show of Hands - Wake The Union (2012)
Introducing Amadou Diagne (2012)
Marry Waterson & Oliver Knight - Hidden (2012)
Mike Grogan - Make Me Strong (2013)
Show of Hands - Centenary: Words & Music of The Great War (2014)
Jennifer Crook - Carnforth Station (2014)
Show of Hands - The Long Way Home (2016)
Mike Grogan - Too Many Ghosts (2016)
Jennifer Crook - The Years She Turns (2016)
Ellie Williams & Dave Ankers - Osito (2016)
Jim Causley - Forgotten Kingdom (2016)
Glymjack - Light The Evening Fire (2018)