Sunday, January 25, 2015

Stevie Nicks Opens The "Vault"

Stevie Nicks & her music have seen something of a renaissance in recent years. Her solo songs (as well as her work with Fleetwood Mac) have been featured on shows like Glee and American Horror Story, which also boasted an appearance & performance by the artist during last season’s “Coven” storyline. Currently, Nicks is on a very successful tour with the reunited Fleetwood Mac, who has welcomed Christine McVie back into the fold. Last September, Nicks issued 24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault, a collection of previously unreleased songs that she originally recorded as demos between 1969 & 1987. It’s a diverse collection of tunes that’s one of her strongest solo releases.

The tracks were recorded in Nashville & Los Angeles, with Nicks, legendary guitarist Waddy Wachtel & Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame sharing the producing duties. The talented session players include Wachtel, Stewart & longtime Elton John guitarist Davey Johnstone. The songs include the excellent “Hard Advice” which is about Nicks’ friendship with Tom Petty, and “Blue Water,” which features Lady Antebellum on backing vocals. There’s also the beautiful ballad ”Lady” and “Mabel Normand,” an anti-drug abuse tale that name checks the titular silent film star to tell its story. Other highlights include the Stones-esque  “Starshine,” and “She Still Loves Him,” an excellent collaboration with Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, one of the best tunes on the album.

The album features a cover of Vanessa Carlton’s “Carousel,” which was a favorite song of Nicks’ late mother. Nicks still has the strength to convey beautiful, sensual & ethereal imagery thru her lyrics, and that distinctive voice has lost none of its power. Of course, long-time Nicks/Fleetwood Mac fans will have fun figuring out which songs might be about her long-time, often turbulent relationship & friendship with Lindsey Buckingham. The rock goddess sounds confident & assured here, and you’d be hard pressed to guess she’s 66 years old. The queen of shawls & onstage twirls also leaves herself room to rock out a little on a couple of songs, like the harder-edged “I Don’t Care,” and “Belle Fleur.”

I’ve really been enjoying this disc, and it’s especially recommended if you’re a Nicks or Fleetwood Mac fan. This is a fantastic group of songs, and despite being written at different stages of her career, they hang together very well. It is one of the best albums of her long career. 24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault is available in two configurations: a 14 track standard edition and a 16 track deluxe version, which also includes a 48-page book. Here are links to “Hard Advice,”, and “Belle Fleur,”

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