Buckingham still going his own way

Fleetwood Mac guitarist beings solo act to Portland

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photoLindsey Buckingham, guitarist for Fleetwood Mac, will perform on May 18 at the Aladdin Theater in Portland.

If you go

• What: Lindsey Buckingham, in concert.

• When: 8 p.m. May 18.

• Where: Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave., Portland.

• Cost: $59.20 through Ticketmaster, 800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com

• Information: Aladdin Theater.

Two and a half years ago, as Fleetwood Mac was getting ready to launch its “Unleashed” world tour, the band members were talking up the possibility that the tour might be a prelude to a new CD from the group.

The game plan at the time was to do the tour and then maybe get into the studio, and if a CD came together, another round of touring was possible.

The only thing that happened was the “Unleashed” tour. But Fleetwood Mac fans got a pair of welcome consolation prizes instead. First came singer Stevie Nicks’ latest solo CD, “In Your Dreams,” and then, last fall, singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham released his sixth solo CD, “Seeds We Sow.”

At least in Buckingham’s case, his solo CD is a direct result of Fleetwood Mac not doing a new CD. It opened a window of time he hadn’t expected to have, and so he did what came naturally. He started writing songs.

“I had no preconceptions going in on this one,” Buckingham said in a recent phone interview. “I didn’t even really have completed songs or anything that was fleshed out in terms of material.”

Buckingham found himself coming up with songs that further delved into musical territory he had explored over the past halfdecade.

“I think what it (not having a plan for the CD) did was just make for kind of a culmination of maybe all of the things I’ve been interested in and the approaches I’ve taken and whatever I’ve learned in the course of the last, say, six or seven years, and put it in one place,” he said.

That assessment seems accurate. “Seeds We Sow” offers songs that are stripped back and almost all acoustic (“Seeds We Sow” and “She Smiled Sweetly”), as well as a couple of up-tempo tunes (“One Take” and “End Of Time”) with more elaborate instrumentation and harmonies.

Some of the songs (“Stars Are Crazy” and “Rock Away Blind”) highlight the idiosyncratic — even esoteric — side to Buckingham’s songwriting, while others (“Illumination” and “That’s The Way That Love Goes”) have the kind of easy-going melodic pop charm that has been common in the material he has written for Fleetwood Mac.

Branching out

The dualistic sides to Buckingham’s music first surfaced on the landmark 1979 Fleetwood Mac “Tusk.”

The CD contained some of the melodic folk-pop that had made Fleetwood Mac’s 1975 self-titled CD and 1976’s “Rumours” huge hits. But it also featured nervy Buckingham rockers like “Not That Funny,” “The Ledge” and “That’s Enough For Me,” the quirky acoustic tune “Save Me A Place” and of course the title song (famous for featuring the USC Trojan Marching Band).

After “Tusk,” Fleetwood Mac leaned back toward more accessible pop, while Buckingham used his solo CDs to stretch out musically.

Ironically, while Buckingham went into “Seeds We Sow” with a clean slate, the songs ended up having a theme about the choices one makes in life and the consequences that emerge as a result down the road.

Some of Buckingham’s choices were musical. For instance, he feels the artistic gambles he first took on “Tusk” have opened the door for further experimentation and growth on his six solo CDs.

Other choices have been profound on a personal level, such as his decision not to marry young and take a chance that he’d find the right woman later in life.

“When I was in my mid-40s, say, the odds start to decrease that maybe that will ever happen for you,” the 62-year-old said. “And I was just lucky enough to meet someone and to start having a family relatively late. But it came to me when I’d gotten all of that other garbage out of the way. … It turned out to be something which has worked out just beautifully for me and has been just a great gift in my life.”

As for the future, Buckingham anticipates that Fleetwood Mac will tour before long, and making a new album with the band is a possibility.

For now, though, he’s taking time to do a solo acoustic tour, expanding in a sense on his fall shows, during which he opened by playing several songs solo.

“That style of playing has become increasingly important to me, just the one guitar doing the work of a whole track and trying to cover a lot of ground with an orchestral style of playing,” Buckingham said.