Stevie Bridges the Gap

The Daily Mail 
May 4 2001

Reviews by Adrian Thrills


She had written songs, such as Rhiannon and Dreams, which had graced some of the biggest albums in pop history. Her gipsy-diva style and husky voice had made her the female rock icon of the late Seventies and early Eighties. But, by the beginning of 1995, Stevie Nicks was in a rut.
The American singer, who had joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975, had spent a year promoting a solo album, 1994's Street Angel, that she knew fell below her usual artistic standards.
Having Kicked a cocaine habit in 1986, she had also overcome an eight-year addiction to prescription drugs.  Then, as she began to piece her life back together, she was hit by writer's block.
'In 1986, I'd started taking a tranquillizer called Klonopin,' says Nicks.'By the time I began recording Street Angel, it had really kicked in.  I was sick and I didn't go out at all.  But my overwhelming sense of calmness took away all my feelings.  It took away my creative juices.'
Determined to make her next record a more stimulating and
honest affair, she approached an old friend, Tom Petty, in 1995 to suggest a songwriting collaboration. 'He said asking him to co-write was a dumb idea,' she says. 'He said my songs didn't need saving. 'Tom told me that I had made a lot of mistakes, fired a lot of people and gone crazy. 'But he also told me I was a great songwriter. He had my best interests at heart and he shook me up.  So I went to my piano and started writing. Suddenly, I was on a roll.'
The songs Nicks wrote after Petty's pep talk have been assembled on her fifth solo album, Trouble In Shangri-La, out last week.
The album features cameos from Sheryl Crow, Macy Gray,
Sarah McLachlan and Dixie Chick Natalie Maines. 'I feel as if I've found all my long - lost daughters,' says 52 year old Nicks of her new vocal partners. 'I'm older than them and from a different place, but they relate to me.'
The affinity between Nicks and Sheryl Crow, who co-produced five tracks, was particularly strong. 'Someday, when we're older, we'll tour together. We'll be like the Everly Brothers, Don and Phil, except we'll be Donna and Philomena.'
The best tracks on the new album are I Miss You, a ballad co-written with Rick Nowels, and Candlebright, which dates back to 1971 when Nicks and her boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham were working as a duo in San Francisco.
The pair later joined Fleetwood Mac, but broke up during the sessions for 1977's Rumours album, which sold 25 million copies.
'Splitting up with Lindsey made things difficult, but we both loved being in Fleetwood Mac and we knew our songs were terrific, when you love a band, you don't sacrifice that.  We knew great art would come out of difficult circumstances. And, despite all our problems, we were never boring.'
Fleetwood Mac, meanwhile, will begin recording a new studio album later this year.  Though keyboardist Christine McVie has decided not to take part, the other four stalwarts - Nicks, Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie - will all be there.
Stevie is looking forward to the sessions. 'Without Christine's synthesizers and keyboards in the mix, the group will be pushed back towards guitars,' she says.
'But it will be back to an English blues sound, which is exactly what I loved about the band when we joined.'

(Thanks to Karen for transcribing and sending the article)

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