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August 30, 2012
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Lindsey Buckingham brings his solo act to Hoyt Sherman

By Chad Taylor

Lindsey Buckingham performs at Hoyt Sherman Place on Saturday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $47.50, $67.50 and $127.50.

Lindsey Buckingham, if you’ll pardon some cheap coinage of a classic song title, goes his own way. From his early Buckingham-Nicks work, to his finger-picking style, to the sound of his solo albums, Buckingham has made his stamp on the musical world in the uncompromising manner of his own choosing. For his most recent album, 2011’s “Seeds We Sow,” Buckingham wrote, produced and engineered everything on his own, played every instrument but one, and self-released the finished product. While other wholly self-produced albums have often been the work of unabashed, notorious control freaks, Buckingham’s desire to go it alone this time was born out of the desire to more deeply explore an inner connection with his work.

“There can be feelings of isolation when working alone, but it’s a good isolation. It’s very meditative, much like painting,” said Buckingham in an interview from the road. “People who paint are usually pretty isolated. It’s a solitary pursuit, but it lets you get one-on-one with your canvas.”

Buckingham’s approach to his work is — and has always been — methodical. The results are impossible to argue with. From the early brilliance of albums such as Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumors” and “Tusk,” to the wide array of sound and emotion explored within his solo work, Buckingham’s approach is heavy with the air of one who’s supremely confident in his own abilities — abilities not only as a songwriter and musician but as a craftsman who understands the finished structure of a song almost before it’s started.

Buckingham’s approach to production and engineering is more traditional. Some may call it “DIY” or “old school,” but the truth is perhaps stated more simply: It’s effective.

“I still have an old, un-automated console that I got in the late ‘80s, and I still do a lot of work on an old, reel-to-reel digital machine,” he said. “My setup is not that different from what it’s been for a while now. What happens is, you find a way that works for you, and at that point… You know, there’s an adage that would apply here: ‘It ain’t what you got, it’s what you’re doing with what you got.’ It’s true.”

What Buckingham is doing with what he’s got is producing work that is at times more nuanced and sophisticated than his Fleetwood Mac stuff, but that would never have been successful in that larger band due to its lack of obvious pop appeal.

“I think the collective wheel of Fleetwood Mac tends to want to take less chances — certainly less than I would on my own. That’s one of the nice things about having both things, Fleetwood Mac and a solo career. I guess you can look at Fleetwood Mac as the ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ movies and my solo career as indie films.”

Buckingham’s finger-picking style — standing practically unique in the field of pic-wielding rock guitarists — has grown over the years into something lush and expressive, an avalanche of notes and impressions that’s deceiving in its complexity.

“I’m sort of enhancing the basic folk approach,” Buckingham explained. “(My picking) has become more rolling. I seem to keep gravitating back to some sort of 6/8 time signature. It’s like a measure of four over a measure of six as far as my picking is concerned, but it’s only revealed as 6/8 when my singing comes in. It’s an area of playing that I’ve become very interested in and tried to expound upon, especially since I’ve done more and more solo albums. It seems to be working out.” CV

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