HAVING taken almost two years in the making, songwriter Andrew Clarke and vocalist Phil Holland – performing together as Silversmith – have produced one of the most impressive albums ever to emerge from the Fylde coast.
Released online last year A Film of Our Lives is a collection of “tales of love, life, fame and fortune”, which they have dedicated to the memory of bassist Chris Sopworth, who until his death in 2010 was the third member of the band.
Andy Clarke, formerly a member of successful local bands Sensible Shoes and Hollywood, “wanted to make a statement about the times we live in and celebrity culture.”
Some of the inspiration came from programmes such as The X Factor (“as much about people who don’t have talent”) and the rest from reality shows and the cult of the celebrity.
“It became the concept for a concept album.” he says. “The songs feature various people who fall foul of fame and fortune. It starts with a family who let TV cameras come in to their house and it all goes wrong, then moves on to lonely widows, a footballer’s wife, a broken rock star and a runaway girl.
“It’s a cast of characters, some of whom deserve what they get, others who don’t. A lot of the characters miss their way, but it all ends on high.”
The stories are woven into a fabric of rock, classic folk and jazz fusing the drama with the music.
“I see myself as a storyteller, creating a cast of characters, most of who exist on two levels: they work as songs but there are also newspaper style stories, along with the sleeve notes.”
Andrew started working on the material two years ago and was looking for a singer when he bumped into Phil Holland – a self-contained cabaret act who he had worked with before in his recording studio days.
“I loved the idea and I loved the songs so I was delighted to get involved with it,” said Phil, who also works in the building trade. “It’s all come together over two years.”
Silversmith isn’t a performing band, he says, and the whole thing probably wouldn’t have happened without the internet.
“This is the first of a trilogy,” said Andrew. “Its just a case of getting the message across now.”
One track, She Don’t Phone Home, has already been adopted by a charity for missing people.
“Clearly we aren’t likely to make any money out of it, but we believe in it, and the response from people who have heard it has been great – except from radio which has ignored our attempts to get publicity.”