What an amazing guest Matt Deighton was on the Paul Weller Fan Podcast back in May 2021.
Matt’s story is a fascinating one – and I highly recommend watching his OVERSHADOWED documentary on Sky Arts or getting a copy of the DVD – you’ll be blown away by the music and magic.
2022 also sees Matt’s incredible solo back catalogue return to vinyl with new heavyweight pressings which I cannot wait to get my hands on PLUS Matt returns to live music – firstly with a gig scheduled at London’s Kings Place on February 19th (at time of writing the gig is sold out but keep an eye on kingsplace.co.uk) and what will be only his second solo show in London in eight years. I can’t wait!.
To celebrate another amazing podcast guest, I wanted to write a blog about a singer-songwriter who is not just universally critically acclaimed but has been described as a ‘bona fide British buried treasure’.
So let’s unpack the musical world of Matt Deighton and as this is the Paul Weller Fan Podcast unpack more of those links with PW too.
Having served time with indie band The Wolfhounds before more famously fronting early 90s Acid Jazz hipsters Mother Earth, singer and guitarist Matt Deighton went solo, as well as playing with the likes of Paul Weller, Beverley Martyn, Chris Difford and Steve Nieve.
Mother Earth released their debut album Stoned Woman in 1992 on Acid Jazz – although this was more of a studio-based concotion as the band were being slowly pieced together by Eddie Piller and Bunny – and Matt joined to late to add anything but guitar overdubs. An EP followed called Grow Your Own – which featured a cover of Almost Grown by Small Faces which I’m led to believe featured Paul Weller on harmonica! Their next album The People Tree with Matt fully installed as the dynamic front man, and the band working more as a collaborative unit, writing songs and playing live in the studio was hailed as a masterpiece with some amazing sing-along songs, folk acoustic ballads, soul and rock. The LP featured Paul Weller on Track 4 – Mister Freedom and former Style Councillor Dee C. Lee on Track 2 – Jesse and Track 8 – The People Tree. Further albums “You Have Been Watching” and “The Desired Effect” (recorded live in Europe) received critical acclaim before the band split in 1997.
Matt then joined Paul Weller’s band as guitarist for the Heavy Soul tour – kicking off with Big Noise Festival in Wales before playing on the roof of London’s Hayward Gallery (which was released as an official UK promo vinyl release, with only 500 copies being printed) and playing Belgium’s Torhout Werchter Festival, T in the Park, Margate’s Winter Gardens and Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium with dates across the UK, Europe and USA and even a couple of nights at Battersea Power Station! Oh and that infamous gig in Paris – more on that in my podcast chat below!
You can hear Matt on a couple of the singles that were released around the Heavy Soul LP in 1997.
Matt is on one of the tracks on Brushed – Heavy Soul EP. A cover version of the Bobby Bland song Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City has Matt on Guitar & Backing Vocals.
The single for Mermaids has Matt on guitar for So You Want to be a Dancer and Everything Has A Price to Pay (’97 version).
Matt also played with Paul on the Dr John album – Anutha Zone, contributing guitar to tracks Party Hellfire and I Don’t Wanna Know (which both featured Paul on vocals and guitar, Damon Minchella on bass and Steve White on drums, along with Dr John and others). He also featured on the Paul Weller produced Carleen Anderson album Blessed Burden with others from the Weller band / community including Mick Talbot, Brendan Lynch, Steve Cradock, Steve White & Yolanda Charles. Matt plays guitar on Fortunes Drive, Piece of Clay and Shifting Times.
Matt remained with the Weller band as lead guitarist until late 1999 when he joined Oasis as replacement guitarist for Noel Gallagher who had taken a sabbatical from the band.
As a solo artist, Matt’s stunning discography has been described as ‘an undiscovered island inhabited by a human being everyone wants to love and protect from the world around him.’ – and it’s fair to say that the chronology is a little difficult to work out so have a listen to the podcast and check out the info below for a helping hand – and links will take you to the albums too.
Mother Earth returned in 2019 with a new line up, live shows and and a single ‘Sooner than much Layta’ featuring Matt Deighton wit, Mick Talbot (The Style Council / Galliano), Ernie McKone (Galliano / Paul Weller Band), Crispin Taylor (Galliano / Mather) and Sulene Fleming (The Brand New Heavies).
EP38 – Matt Deighton – Overshadowed – Paul Weller Band – Mother Earth – Family Silver… "We're words upon a window, written there in steam…" – Desperately Seeking Paul : Paul Weller Fan Podcast
For other PW related links – look first to Matt’s lost 2001 album The Common Good and then the absolute masterpiece that is Doubtless Daughtless from 2018.
The Common Good was part produced by John Leckie and features an all-star cast of performances from drum maestro Steve White, keyboard legend Mick Talbot, alongside a world class complement of Marco Nelson, Nicola Bright-Thomas and of course, Paul Weller.
Originally released on a limited run of vinyl and CD, it then vanished without a trace for two decades, save for a couple of bootlegs that robbed Matt of any royalties, and a handful of fans refusing to let it die online. It has now finally been restored to glory in 24 bit for the first time, for a worldwide release.
It is a record that is slightly more electric than the others with standout tracks such as Large As Life, A Saint Coming Home and Finger of Rain – perhaps owing something to Matt’s time with Paul Weller and Oasis, but there are still those haunting acoustic moments that define him, such as Evensong, and The Common Good.
Paul plays guitar on the songs ‘Til Monday, The Rolling Bus and Evensong (you’ll find the official video to that track below which was released on Matt’s YouTube channel in 2021).
Sleeve notes for the 2022 give more info on the Weller connection with the making of the album… “Paul Weller kindly gave me his Black Barn studio for my birthday present where we both put down Eversong with Paul playing some beautiful parts on his Novatron (which is very similar to a Mellotron). We also overdubbed Paul’s lead guitar’s on ‘Til Monday and The Rolling Bus while we were there.”
Doubtless Dauntless is Matt’s sixth solo album, and the record that is seen being recorded in the Sky Arts documentary Overshadowed (more on that below). Matt reunited with his great friend, Style Council, Weller and Family Silver drummer Steve White, and was joined by the ever brilliant Ben Trigg who played a variety of instruments and wrote some stunning string arrangements. Attractions keys genius Steve Nieve joined on piano, as well as the great Linda Lewis and the man behind the music in the original Wicker Man film, Gary Carpenter.
I should also call out The Family Silver – described as a ‘new band with a classic sound’. The band was made up of Matt Deighton on guitar and vocals, bassist Damon Minchella (Ocean Colour Scene, Richard Ashcroft, Paul Weller Band) and drummer Steve White (The Style council, Paul Weller band). Their debut album Electric Blend was released in 2015 – featuring 12 superbly crafted original songs delivered with the entire musical prowess you’d expect from three musicians who have made a significant contribution to British popular music over the past 30 years. It’s unclear if there is more to come from The Family Silver but fingers crossed.
There are some other great Paul Weller connections through Monks Road Social.
Three albums have been released so far featuring amazing musicians including Matt Deighton, Dr.Robert, Steve White, Mick Talbot, Ernie McKone, Crispin Taylor, Jacko Peake, Steve Sidelnyk, Kathryn Williams, Neil Jones & Neil Sheasby (Stone Foundation) and Damon Minchella. An ever-evolving collaborative outfit featuring a rotating mix of exceptional new talent with a stellar house band. Effortlessly veering between soul, jazz, folk, blues rock, ambient, baroque and more. All held together with a passion and belief in the ethos of Monks Road founder, Richard Clarke, who wanted to create a world where artisans, poets and musicians are celebrated for their craft.
Shown at various film festivals in 2020 and on Sky Arts regularly since OVERSHADOWED is an incredible documentary through which Matt guides us on a tour through his life, his music and performances, exploring the challenges of mental health and musicianship.
Matt is one of those rare artists that musicians simply want to be associated with and the documentary shows nothing but love for the man and his music from the likes of Chris Difford & Kathryn Williams (also guests on this podcast) along with Bill Fay (his only ever interview on film), Paul Weller, Marti Pellow, Steve White, Linda Lewis, Carleen Anderson, Damon Minchella and Steve Nieve.
The film also features archive footage of Mother Earth, Paul Weller & Oasis along with an extended scene of ‘Dreamstate’ featuring Linda Lewis, bonus acoustic performances of ‘Overshadowed’, ‘Snow Lit Lovers’ & ‘Stringless Heart’. Plus the official music video for ‘Evensong’ – a song that also features Mr Weller.
You can buy the DVD at mattdeighton.tmstor.es
Find out more about Matt and hear / buy his amazing albums at mattdeighton.co.uk
Matt Deighton Discography
1989 – Bright and Guilty – The Wolfhounds
1992 – Stoned Woman – Mother Earth (Matt on guitar overdubs only)
1993 – The People Tree – Mother Earth
1995 – You Have Been Watching – Mother Earth
1995 – Villager (Solo)
1996 – The Desired Effect – Mother Earth
2000 – You Are The Healer (Solo)
2001 – The Common Good (Solo)
2003 – Wake Up The Moths (Solo)
2009 – Around The House in 80 Days – The Bench Connection
2015 – An Electric Blend – The Family Silver
2017 – Kids Steal Feelings (Solo)
2018 – Doubtless Dauntless (Solo)
2019 – Down The Willows – Monks Road Social
2019 – Out Of Bounds – Monks Road Social
2020 – Humanism – Monks Road Social