Friday, July 31, 2009


The Soundstage Sessions (Reprise)
US release date: 31 March 2009
UK release date: 30 March 2009

By Christian John Wikane
PopMatters Contributing Editor

I miss new albums by Stevie Nicks. Tearing the plastic off a Stevie Nicks record that contains completely unknown material is a thrill that listeners have only truly experienced six times since her 1981 solo debut, Bella Donna. Compilations occasionally fill those long gaps with a new song here and there, but they do not summon the same charge as a whole set of songs that Nicks is introducing for the first time.

Scanning the track list of The Soundstage Sessions, portions of a concert Nicks recorded in October 2007 for the PBS Soundstage program, there are eight titles familiar to anyone with a cursory knowledge of Nicks or Fleetwood Mac, plus a cover of “Crash” by Dave Matthews Band and Bonnie Raitt’s “Circle Dance”, which Nicks sings with Vanessa Carlton (a misstep). How does it all add up?

First, irrespective of current record sales, Nicks has every reason to record a new album. She has a wealth of material and her voice remains a uniquely expressive instrument. Whatever the record label prognosticators may argue, there is a demand for a Stevie Nicks album that doesn’t include “Stand Back” or “Landslide” for the umpteenth time. The Soundstage Sessions has both but, to its credit, it also includes gems like “How Still My Love” and “Fall From Grace”, songs that have not yet been tossed into the compilation spin cycle. Disregarding the missed opportunity of a new Stevie Nicks album, The Soundstage Sessions is mostly satisfying. Nicks sounds damn good on all of these tracks, even if the world did not necessarily need another version of “Landslide”.


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