2013 was a busy year for Def Leppard, between their Las Vegas residency, assorted live and studio engagements and guitarist Vivian Campbell’s treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But not busy enough for guitarist Phil Collen, apparently, since he is devoting parts of his holiday season to promoting a new musical endeavor named Delta Deep.

And unlike Collen’s prior side project Manraze, which saw him partnering with former Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook and bassist Simon Laffy (an old friend and associate from Collen’s pre-Def band, Girl) on a pair of well-received alternative rock LPs, Delta Deep takes a detour into even more unfamiliar musical territory, inspired by the sounds of the American South.

To accomplish this, Collen reached out to not only Cook and Laffy but additional star collaborators ranging from Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo to Toto drummer Forrest Robinson. But the true lynchpin of Delta Deep’s lineup and musical direction is singer Debbi Blackwell-Cook: a talented vocalist who also happens to be the godmother of Collen’s wife, costume designer Helen L. Simmons.

Collen started working on songs with Blackwell-Cook on an informal basis before realizing there was magic to be found in their shared affinity for blues and soul music, which, as evidenced by their recent casual performances at Radio Screamer, maintain clear ties to Def Leppard’s pop-rock foundation via Phil’s biting, distorted electric guitar tone.

All this sets the stage for the release of Delta Deep's recording debut, sometime in 2014.