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The Fleetwood Mac star and the village people

Andy Oliver and Janet Bamford recording at home in Chatburn with Jeremy Spencer.

Andy Oliver and Janet Bamford recording at home in Chatburn with Jeremy Spencer.

It’s a most unlikely partnership. He is a former superstar rock musician and founder member of Fleetwood Mac; they are an unassuming musical couple who live in a Ribble Valley village.

Yet this trio of two 30-somethings and a famous senior citizen have worked together on an album of songs that combine their mix of talents.

It was by sheer coincidence that music maker Andy Oliver (35), of Ribble Lane, Chatburn, struck up a friendship with Jeremy Spencer, the brilliant blues guitarist who sensationally quit the successful rock band to join a religious sect in the United States.

On a visit to his home town Hartlepool, Andy was chatting with his mum’s neighbour, Valerie Yuill. She had once lived next door to Jeremy Spencer, who was also born in Hartlepool.

Andy contacted the musician, who is now aged 65 and lives near Dublin, and they chatted and exchanged emails about their home town, their music, their favourite films and life in general.

They began to swop music and lyrics and put some songs together, and Andy’s Irish-born wife Janet Bamford – a former junior tin whistle champion – added backing vocals and other instruments.

The result is a 14-track album by their trio, named Steetley after a magnesia factory in Hartlepool.

Its title “The Moment She Fell” was inspired by the factory’s 230-foot landmark chimney, demolished last year. The album was given a “soft release” this week on Amazon and iTunes, and a CD will follow in the New Year.

“The band did come about in a rather strange manner, but it works” said Andy.

“Jeremy offered me support and advice, and I sent him one of my tracks that he then produced and sent back to me, and it blew me away.”

The musical collaboration came to a head when Jeremy visited Andy and Janet in October to look around the Ribble Valley, make a sentimental journey back to Hartlepool, and record material with the couple.

Andy said: “It was a very emotional trip to Hartlepool. Jeremy’s mother and father had been laid to rest there. It was a very moving experience.”

Andy said he was not overawed at working with such a famous musician. “When I first got in touch with him, I’d no intention of asking him to make music with me. We just became pals and the music developed from there.

“We’re very pleased with the album. It’s a mix of folk/rock, rich in storytelling, with Jeremy’s slide guitar and etherial tin whistle from Janet.”

Fans can find out more about the band on www.steetley.biz

 

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