They've come together at last, three musicians who were responsible for some of the brightest colour and artistry in British popular music over the past three decades, and they're currently squirrelled away in a Salford studio to record an album that will serve as a reminder of what the music scene is missing.
Master drummer Steve White (The Style Council and Paul Weller), bassist Damon Minchella (Ocean Colour Scene), and singer-songwriter/guitarist Matt Deighton (Mother Earth, Paul Weller and Oasis) have coalesced as The Family Silver, drawn almost inexorably to each other after all these years. And with a novel plan.
"This all came about when a friend of mine who runs a building firm in south-east London told me that he was looking to do some altruistic stuff. He was interested in financing the recording of the album, so here we are," says Steve.
"There wasn't any point wasting time going through a conventional record company. We knew we wanted to make a record and decided to look at other avenues, while at the same time demonstrating to other musicians that they've got to look outside the box. You have to work out new ways of engaging with fans, and bands have to start doing things for themselves."
The chosen avenue, or mode of marketing, of which Steve speaks is the PledgeMusic platform which, by connecting fans directly to the music makers, has helped raise the necessary finance to pre-sell, market and distribute this new band's music.
"I'm not engaged with an industry that tries to put me in a box marked heritage," he says, "so we've had to be focused about how we want people to hear about the record and have factored in everything. We're keen to have mono and stereo vinyl, so we've got a real cross section of material to present to people who are interested."
The subsequent recording, therefore, is a meticulously put together tract of sound in an age when class-A playing is often overlooked. "We're looking into playing theatre shows which will be linked to podcasts," he says. "This way fans across the world can watch what we're doing. We're not leaving anything to chance because the old ways are dead."
Needs must when the industry has evolved and your muse remains an insistent one. The album - entitled Electric Blend - puts this reviewer in mind of classic Weller melded to the sounds of Nick Drake and John Martyn and tempered with space and dimension. It is evident they have learned from their top flight pasts that it would be foolish to squander talent, instead wisely stitching together their collective experiences into a robust strategy.
The album has been co-written with some Matt Deighton-penned songs making their way onto it, such as Overshadowed, a soaring piece of folk-rock that has you wondering why music like this has disappeared from the airwaves.
"I haven't been in a situation like this for 15 years," says Matt. "Back in the 1990s I equated talent with money, and as I didn't have any money, I thought I couldn't have been that good. But this album is greater than the sum of its parts. Steve and Damon have brought all their experience to it and have transformed my expectations." Matt agrees with Bob Dylan's maxim that a song is anything that can walk by itself. He says he doesn't know where his songs come from, that they just arrive, usually when he's got an electric guitar in his hands, unplugged, melodies quietly drifting in. "It's still a mystery to me, but it's what you do, isn't it."
With Steve also teaching at Goldsmiths and the Trinity Laban Conservatoire Of Music & Dance in London and Damon Minchella deep into his music doctorate at Birmingham University, there lies proof of life well lived after rock stardom and of what can be achieved if you pay fierce fealty to your profession.
"This is the rock'n'roll payback for me," says Steve. "Electric Blend is going to be a body of work, and a very traditional one. Like Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin once did at the rockier end of the spectrum - when they'd make a record and say to the paying public, make of it what you will - that's the spirit in which we're making the album."
The only difference being that they've got a very modern way of bringing it to market.
Follow the band @TheFamilySilver
Photo (l-r: Steve, Matt and Damon) by Richard EcclestoneSuggest a correction