Phil Collen must have decided to make some music while waiting for Def Leppard to complete their first studio album since 2008. The guitarist has been working with the new blues-rock band Delta Deep, which will release its self-titled debut album on June 23.

Collen is joined by principal collaborators Debbi Blackwell-Cook (who's been a backup singer for Luther Vandross and Michael Buble), drummer Forrest Robinson (India Arie and Joe Sample) and Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo. The project, a mix of soulful originals and key covers, grew out of family jam sessions with Blackwell-Cook, who is godmother to Collen’s wife Helen. Collen calls DeLeo one of the group's secret weapons. “We really wanted Robert in this band," he notes in a press release. "He had the added firepower of being the premier pioneer and most ‘bad-assed bass player’ to come out of the alternative rock explosion."

Special guests on Delta Deep include David Coverdale, Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols and – as a treat for Def Leppard fans – Joe Elliott. Coverdale appears on the track "Private Number," while Elliott is featured on "Mistreated." Simon Laffy, who like Cook has worked in Manraze with Collen, guests on "Black Coffee." CJ Vanston, who most recently served as co-producer on Toto's comeback album, added Hammond B-3 to "Burnt Sally."

Elliott says Def Leppard's long-awaited new album is finally ready. Fans can apparently expect to hear the follow-up to Songs From the Sparkle Lounge later this year, after Def Leppard wrap up their slate of concert dates in the summer and early fall.

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