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Fleetwood Mac still make music fun

BY Ed Condran
Tribune correspondent

Published:   |   Updated: June 7, 2013 at 01:56 PM

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Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks could go their own way. Neither singer-songwriter has to go back with Fleetwood Mac. Each has impressed as solo artists over recent years.

Buckingham has released three solo albums over a five-year span and Nicks released "In Your Dreams" in 2011, one of her finest projects. She also recorded with Dave Grohl and the Sound City Players in 2012.

"I really enjoyed making those solo albums," Buckingham said. "I had a lot to get out of my system."

But Buckingham makes time for Fleetwood Mac, which will perform tonight at the Forum.

"People still come out to see us," Buckingham said. "There are more and more young people coming out. There's good reason to continue together. We have a great deal of fun when we're together."

The legendary band is out behind, "Extended Play," its first release in 10 years - a four-song EP. The fresh material sounds like vintage Fleetwood Mac, particularly "Without You."

Stevie Nicks penned the catchy tune prior to joining Fleetwood Mac. The never-released track was intended for a Buckingham-Nicks album. The acoustic love song is gentle and moving and is worth experiencing solely for the rich harmonies.

"I've always had that connection with Stevie," Buckingham said. "We've been at it for a long time."

So has Fleetwood Mac, which has sold over 100 million albums. "Go Your Own Way," "Rhiannon," "The Chain," "Don't Stop" and "You Make Loving Fun" are just some of the band's biggest hits.

Fleetwood Mac, which also includes bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood, hit pop paydirt with 1976's "Rumours," which sold more than 19 million copies. That allowed Fleetwood Mac to create the quirky, adventurous and brilliant "Tusk," which dropped in 1979.

Buckingham was the dominant figure/mad genius behind "Tusk."

"We did a number of different things in this band," Buckingham said. "When I look back at 'Rumours' and 'Tusk' and so many of the other albums, I couldn't be prouder. People feel pretty good about what we've done. They still come out to experience these songs. It's great right now whether I'm working with Fleetwood Mac or working solo."

Buckingham has plenty in the tank. "Seeds We Sow," his latest effort, which dropped last month, is a bit of a departure for Buckingham. It's the rawest album of his career. Some of the songs sound like demos. It's refreshing to hear tunes, warts and all in a producer's era, in which virtually every cut is cleaned up. Buckingham's songs are still elegant and intimate but it's nice to hear them without unnecessary sheen.

"It's good to do things a little differently at times," Buckingham said. "You don't want to keep repeating yourself."

But what Buckingham does repeat is welcome. He continues to write terrific love songs, which are hardly ubiquitous these days.

"It's true," Buckingham said. "There aren't as many love songs out there today. But it's something I'm compelled to do."

That's been one of his strengths going back to Fleetwood Mac's '70s hey day.

"You always hear that it's best to play to your strength," Buckingham said. "There's nothing wrong with that."

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