IT started out with a conversation with a neighbour, then a chance email and now a Hartlepool-born musician has released an album with a rock legend.
And for singer songwriter Andy Oliver it’s been a surreal – yet incredible – experience.
The 35-year-old has had relative success on iTunes as he’s released his own material over the past five years.
But now he’s armed with a new band and his new partner in crime is non-other than original Fleetwood Mac guitarist, Jeremy Spencer.
The collective is Hartlepool through-and-through as Andy was born in the town, as was Jeremy, and the band is named Steetley.
And after releasing their first album together on iTunes, Andy hasn’t ruled out live dates at some point in the future.
For now though, he’s still enjoying learning everything he can from a man whose name sits alongside legends of the music world in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
And for Andy, it all started out with that chance conversation with Val Yuill, a neighbour of his parents Ann, 59, and Mike, 60, in Hart Village.
“I had been visiting my parents and as I walked outside Val came up and got chatting to me and said how she must be destined to live near musicians,” explained Andy, a former English Martyrs RC School and Sixth Form College student.
“I asked how and she explained how she used to live near Jeremy Spencer. At that point I didn’t even realise Jeremy was from Hartlepool.”
Andy decided to send Jeremy a chance email after his conversation with Val, although he admitted he didn’t expect a reply.
But Jeremy did reply and the pair got chatting about their upbringing and the conversation ultimately led to music.
After many months of emails sent back and forth, Jeremy then started sending Andy tracks to put lyrics to.
And before they knew it, the pair had an album’s worth of material together.
Jeremy, now 65, even made the trip back to town for the first time since he left when he was 10 and visited the street where he was born, St Paul’s Road, and the former Steetley site, which Andy wrote one of the songs about, thus leading to the naming of the band.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure to work alongside Jeremy,” said Andy, who regularly makes the trip back to town despite now living in Clitheroe, in Lancashire with his wife Janet Bamford, 42, also in the band.
“He’s been making music all of his life and everything he does is just absolute class.
“It’s a funny industry because there is so much shifting about with people trying to find their place but Jeremy has taught me so much.”
Working alongside Jeremy in the band has capped off a fantastic couple of years for Andy.
As well as writing the music which led to the release of the album, he also wrote the music for a film called Celluloid, which was premiered at Palm Springs Film Festival, in California, where Andy performed live.
While Jeremy tours in America early next year, Andy will continue to focus on his own music.
But he admits should the chance come along, he would love to perform Steetley’s music live, especially back home in Hartlepool.
To listen to Steetley’s music and for links to the iTunes page visit www.facebook.com/Steetley