Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Undiscovered Soul: Matt Deighton

Matt Deighton (vocals, guitar)

For many the name Matt Deighton may mean nothing. For some it may be vaguely familiar as the guy who took Noel Gallagher's guitar spot for a couple of Oasis' 2000 European tour dates, starting in Paris. For another set of people, Deighton may be familiar as a session/touring member of Paul Weller's (circa Heavy Soul) band.

But for the rest, he was the lead singer of a desperately under appreciated folk/acid jazz band called Mother Earth. Mother Earth were a combination of Sly Stone meets Terry Callier mixed with (the band not the person) The Marc Almond band (check your music history books).

Anyway, Mother Earth were signed to the famous English label Acid Jazz. They released three albums--to mostly positive acclaimed during the nineties. Mother Earth were a weird stepchild for label. They were never funky enough (say Brand New Heavies, Corduroy, et al.) to gain the exposure they deserved to break into the mainstream. But they also embodied the rock spirit of Sly Stone which may have kept them from reaching the soul-jazz audience.

The most famous was their second album, The People Tree (Acid Jazz; 1995) which also featured Paul Weller on a number of tracks. Tracks such as "Jesse," "Mister Freedom" and "A Trip Down Brian Lane" all highlighted the swirling rich soulful beauty in Deighton's voice and the tightness of the rest of the band. Mother Earth were definitely well ahead of their time with The People Tree album but elements of the album could be since in Deighton's future solo work.

After one more Mother Earth album and a live album, Deighton would move forward with what has become a quit but solid solo career. I think because of the lack of a stable label he has again not found the larger audience he deserves.

Matt Deighton's first solo album, Villager (Focus; 1995) is fantastic. It is a folksy-jazzier affair, that sees Deighton combing his lyrical poetry with acoustic instrumentation to produce an album that is similar in many ways to the recent work of Terry Callier. "Good For Us," "Get Out The Road," "Jesus Loves The Rain," and "Pure English Honey" are all stellar tracks that would anyone's summer Sundays a real delight.

Soft spoken, understated and under appreciated, Matt Deighon continues to record sporadically. His most recent album, Part Of Your Life (50:50) is another acoustic gem. I have tried to hunt down the psychical CD but have had zero luck. I finally decided to break down and buy the digital version. I still completely satisfied but would love to find the actually CD. That's just the collector in me. Matt Deighton has recorded five solo albums since '95 and all of them are quite good. A real undiscovered soul-jazz artist you should definitely check out.

(Update: Part Of You Life was only available online. It appears to no longer be available. I haven't seen it in a few years unfortunately. But if you do find it--it is a must have.)


  1. Great artist very underrated, yes. Where have you found "Part of your life"... Can't find it and would like to dl it (and pay it.) Thanx a lot. ;) your article will be on my Weller related blog. Last posts about Matt. ;)

  2. Isn't Part Of Your Life (50:50) an "download-only" Album?
    I have it, but for the life of me can't remember where i got it from. Not iTunes, since it is in MP3 and not Apple's format....