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Get lost in Nicks’ new CD

According to VH1’s “Behind the Music,” before Stevie Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac in 1974, she worked odd jobs as a hostess and housekeeper. However, the days of washing dishes and scrubbing toilets were quickly replaced by fame and fortune once Fleetwood Mac songs made their way onto airwaves.

Full of tumultuous relationships with band members, health problems caused by excessive cocaine use and more than 25 years of making music, Nicks’ life has been anything but boring. In fact, it was only a few years ago that critics all but dismissed the idea of a comeback from Nicks and her bandmates, yet in 1997, Fleetwood Mac reunited with the CD, The Dance, and a tour. Nicks took the stage with her unmistakable voice, infamous black lace outfits and ethereal dance moves.

Now, she has again stepped from the band’s shadow to release Trouble In Shangri-la, the first solo album since 1994’s Street Angel.

In a press release, Nicks said she had been working on Trouble In Shangri-la for years.

“I needed to live my life,” she said. “I needed to replenish my well of life experiences.”

Whatever Nicks experienced in the past 12 years seems to have enhanced her creativity and songwriting abilities. While the new project has glimpses of the past, such as the song “Planets of the Universe,” which is similar in feel and sound to “Edge of Seventeen,” some newer and hipper sounds make this CD as strong as any she has released in the past.

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“Every step along the path of my life, I’ve been writing it all down, taking incredibly detailed notes,” Nicks said. “Instead of partying, I run back to my room, open my journal and pour out my heart on paper. It can take minutes, or it can take all night. But it’s always deep. And it’s always real.”

Guest artists are abundant and include Macy Gray, Sarah McLachlan and Dixie Chick Natalie Maines. However, the strongest collaborative effort was between Nicks and Sheryl Crow.

Crow has an obvious influence on the Trouble In Shangri-la sound and worked on six of the 13 tracks. Not only is she co-producer of a handful of the songs, “she also lends her expertise on backing vocals, guitar and bass, and wrote the Nicks performed “It’s Only Love.” The strong rhythms usually found on Crow’s albums are heard on the songs “Sorcerer” and "That Made Me Stronger,” making it seem that, at times, Trouble In Shangri-la is as much a Crow project as a Nicks.

“Our connection is deep,” Nicks said of Crow. “Deeper than I can even put into words.”

Crow, who names Nicks as one of her primary musical influences, returned the sentiment.

“To even be in the same room as Stevie was a dream come true for me,” Crow said. “To work with her was beyond description. It was extraordinary.”

From the Nicks and Crow styles comes relaxed, but driven, music. Nicks’ voice is passionate, graceful and flows like water across the entire CD. Trouble in Shangri-La is an album to get lost in.

A Nicks solo tour is set to begin sometime this summer and she said there isn’t a song on the new album she wouldn’t love to perform on stage.

“I’m so incredibly proud of this album,” she said. “These songs have been such a big part of my life. I’m so pleased and excited to get them out there for the world to hear. I’m more itchy for people to finally hear them than anything else. That’s a pretty good sign, isn’t it?”

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