- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 22, 2017

Since rejoining Fleetwood Mac in 2014 after a 16-year hiatus, Christine McVie has retaken up her lead vocals on “Little Lies,” “Everywhere” and “Think About Me,” thrilling fans who had long hoped the singer would return to the lineup of the English-American band.

But Miss McVie knew she had more to do besides rehash the old tunes. As much as she enjoyed performing the hits that have kept the band in the public consciousness for a half-century, the itch to write, to create new music, would simply not leave her.

“Once they agreed to take me back, which was the most wonderful news that’s ever happened to me in my life, I started to write again,” Miss McVie told The Washington Times via phone from a seaside location in Malibu, California.

Accordingly, she began recording bits of compositions and sending them to Mac lead guitarist Lindsey Buckingham.

“We didn’t know that there’d be any chemistry after all those years, [but] in the first week of cutting these [songs], it felt really easy,” Miss McVie said of teaming up with Mr. Buckingham. “We were collaborating in a better way than ever before.

“He said, ‘Why don’t we go into the studio and cut a few?’ And the result was just extraordinary.”

The final product of that collaboration is the new album called, appropriately enough, “Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie,” which features such uptempo cuts as “Sleeping Around the Corner” and Miss McVie returning to vocal form on “Feel About You.” The duo’s voices are as much in evidence as their instrumentation on “Lay Down for Me” and “Carnival Begin.”

The duo are touring to promote the collaboration, which brings them to the Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia, Monday evening. Miss McVie said the set list will include both her duet material with Mr. Buckingham as well as familiar Fleetwood Mac tunes.

“We’re playing about seven, eight new songs, but they’re all very listenable, all quite catchy,” she said, adding some songs are performed acoustically and some with the full backup band. “It’s quite a varied selection.”

Touring requires frequent travel, which is one reason the English singer spurned rejoining her former bandmates for so long.

“I don’t like to fly,” Miss McVie said, adding she has worked for years with a therapist in England to overcome the phobia. Now, she says, laughing, “I can’t wait to get on an airplane. I’m overstating it a bit, but I have no ‘fear’ of flying now.”

And yet confronting fears has been a staple of the Fleetwood Mac output for decades. “Rumours,” the smash 1977 album, was made amid Miss McVie’s divorce from bassist John McVie; Mr. Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were also separating as a couple at the same time. However, such internecine acrimony stayed off the record, which is widely praised as one of the band’s best.

However, Miss McVie said similar issues plagued the band’s follow-up, 1979’s “Tusk.”

“I don’t think any of us had much [good memory] of making that album. Those were the bad days,” she said, adding that the pressure was on to not simply produce “Rumours II.”

Lindsey was mainly in charging of making that album, maybe self-indulgently, [but] we didn’t mind,” Miss McVie said of the album, which features herself on the vocals of such songs about loss as “Never Make Me Cry” and “Honey Hi.”

“I don’t think many people thought much about it when it first came out,” Miss McVie said of “Tusk,” which was regarded as a failure by the record company despite 4 million in sales — compared to 10 million for “Rumours.”

“I think everybody over a period of time has started to dig it out of their shelves and start to listen to it again,” Miss McVie said. “It’s a great record.”

Like her bandmate Mick Fleetwood, Miss McVie says that Fleetwood Mac started off as a blues band, and remains so at its heart.

“I’m certain if I was to do another solo album, that’s what I would do, because I loved singing the blues,” she said of the possibility of such a future record. “I would put together a band and just invite all the best guitar [and] keyboard players in the world, and just have a party.”

However, Miss McVie, who will turn 74 on July 12, insists that such pipe dreams must be realized sooner rather than later.

“I’m of a certain age, [and] I haven’t got much longer to really ‘shred the boards,’ as it were,” she said. “I’m hoping that we’ll do another Fleetwood Mac tour next year, and that will be when I’ll turn 75, so I don’t know how much longer one can realistically do this stuff.”

However, the singer insists she does not “feel” her age at all.

“I would love to make a blues album, but I have no intention of moving on from Fleetwood Mac until we’re all finished,” she said. “So we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie play at the Wolf Trap Monday. Tickets are available by going to WolfTrap.org.

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