Stevie Nicks calls in a few friends on this one. Trouble in Shangri-La enlists some of music's most popular females, including Macy Gray, Sarah McLachlan, and Dixie Chick Natalie Maines. If Nicks hadn't been doing it for years, this might feel like a calculated attempt to follow the trend set by Santana's Supernatural. Her liner notes have always been star-studded. Over the years she's gotten help from the likes of Don Henley, Don Felder, Bruce Hornsby, Mike Campbell, and Tom Petty. Most prominent on this album is Sheryl Crow, who co-produced five of the album's 13 tracks. Her signature guitar sound shines through on many of the songs. Maines performs the album's only true duet on "Too Far From Texas." The other guests are noticeable, but act mostly as backup voices and musicians. Make no mistake about it -- this is a Nicks album from beginning to end, and she's at the top of her game here. It's not a departure, but a renewed energy makes this her best work since 1985's Rock a Little. Titles like "Sorcerer" and "Bombay Sapphires" preserve her mystical persona, and despite their mythical sound, they touch on human and very personal subject matter. Her deliberate lyrics sometimes feel a bit more like prose than verse, but the conviction in her voice adds legitimacy to her words. While Nicks' voice has matured, it is just as strong as it ever was. She shows great range, from the heartbroken tenderness of "Love Changes" to the aggressive rock of "Fall From Grace." Trouble in Shangri-La not only reminds listeners what Nicks has meant to music, but it finds her a place in modern-day pop.
Trouble in Shangri-La Review
by Brad Kohlenstein