Seeds We Sow
[Mind Kit Records/Eagle Rock (2011)]
Seeds We Sow is Lindsey Buckingham‘s sixth solo album since leaving Fleetwood Mac, and his first self-release effort. As a guitar player, Buckingham ranks as one of the best, and this album serves as a reminder of just how good he is. Many of the tracks demonstrate Buckingham’s glissando guitar attack, a 6-string fingerpicking method which seems to defy time and space and gravity.
The title track, a self-confessional that edges into a brittle, preachy protest song, has a blistering “sheltering sky” aura, with plenty of reverb and echo and swirling dynamics, and is faster than the speed of light almost. [Lindsay Buckingham defies laws of physics. News at 11. -ed] “Stars are Crazy”, another whirlwind of cascading notes, seduces with its angry, dangerous tone and threatens to run off a cliff with its barrage of pulsating rhythms and bouncy tempos.
However, as much as I enjoy Buckingham showing-off speed-demon crazy guitar licks and zipping around the fretboard as if his fingers were on fire, he’s at his best when he keeps things simple, sane, and stripped-down. Buckingham’s genius lies with his subtle guitar interplay and arranging, which were brilliantly on display on most of the successful Fleetwood Mac hit singles and albums. His most engaging work rests on when he lays low on the guitar and builds up tension and suspense with clever guitar and vocal overdubbing, as he does on classic Mac songs like “Go Your Own Way,” “The Chain,” “That’s All for Everyone.” Seeds We Sow has three speeds: Super doggone fast, kinda fast, and real slow. The last two are the ones you want to sing along with late at night when there’s a slight chill in the air and the moon is fading softly away. “End of Time,” my personal favorite from the album, has some clever simple guitar chords and restrained phrasings as he
Always keep me in your heart
even though I maybe dead and gone
and though we’re far apart
my love for you is strong.
It certainly could have surfaced on any Fleetwood Mac record with its dreamy lyrics mixed with soft, pleading lines. “That’s the Way Love Goes”, a spirited harpsichord romp with a simple lead guitar crawl continues in the same vein, and gets stuck in your head on the first play. “When She Comes Down” is also a sure-fire winner with a drifting, slo-mo heartbeat and crafty, layered vocals ala Beach Boys. Less is more, and “Gone to Far” has a steady strum of three chords and some wistful, heartfelt singing that Lindsey does so well. A final successful song is Buckingham’s cover version of the Rolling Stones’ “She Smiled Sweetly,” which he underplays with just guitar and voice. Melancholy perfection.
Those wishing to witness first-hand Buckingham’s astonishing dexterity on the six-string and songwriting skills are advised to seek out Songs from the Small Machine: Live in LA, a DVD/CD of Buckingham performing in front of an adoring crowd of fans.
—TJ McGrath (Woodbridge, CT)