These songs are little jewels," says Stevie Nicks of her new album. "Each one is the story of what was going on at the time – new relationships, new friends, new Fleetwood Mac albums." 24 Karat Gold – Songs From the Vault (out October 7th) is full of songs Nicks had written but never previously recorded, dating back to 1969. Some are so private, not even her Mac bandmates have heard them. "'Lady' was on a cassette I kept in a box, in a sacred trunk that my mother had," she says. "It just said 'Lady' on the front."
Nicks faced a severe time crunch in the studio – she had to finish before rehearsals for Fleetwood Mac's fall reunion tour with Christine McVie began. "I called [producer] Dave Stewart and said, 'I've got the songs, but how do we make a record in two months?'" she says. "He said, 'Nashville. That's what they do.' It's like checking yourself into music rehab."
The Nashville session cats helped Nicks crash 17 tracks in just three weeks. It was a new experience for her. "I'm usually up till four or five in the morning, but [for this album] I had to get up at nine, do a vocal lesson at 10, then watch Wendy Williams just to wake up. I'm in the bathtub at 12, then dressing as fast as I can, and driving across town to be in the vocal booth by two." It was exotic in other ways, too. "I'm used to bands where we argue over how to do the song. These Nashville guys just say, 'Yes, ma'am.'"
The album is decorated with Polaroid selfies taken by Nicks over the years. "People would ask to model for me, and I'd say, 'Be at my hotel room at 2:30 a.m., dressed in lipstick and gowns and hats and rhinestones and diamonds,' " Nicks says. "And they'd say, 'Uh, no, I'm good.' So I was the model, photographer and furniture mover."
Like the photos, the songs document Nicks' private life. "'Lady' captures the mood of me and Lindsey [Buckingham] being scared to death when we moved to L.A. in 1971," she says. "Our producer Keith Olsen gave us this white carved piano – I wrote 'Rhiannon' on it. But I didn't know how to play. 'Lady' was me figuring it out."
Nobody from Fleetwood Mac has heard the album yet, but she's confident her mates will like it. "Lindsey will love it," she says. "Half the songs are about him!"