Connect with us


Long-awaited Nicks fix

Rock’s high priestess returns with melodically rich but vocally reserved new album



Stevie Nicks returns this week with her first studio album in a decade, ‘In Your Dreams.’ (Courtesy of Reprise Records)

The music business circa 2011 is, as everybody knows, in the toilet. It’s a blessing and a curse for all involved — consumers, of course, have the option of buying songs one at a time, but that means album sales aren’t what they used to be so there’s little incentive for veteran artists to make records. All the money’s in touring.

Top-tier acts who still release albums every couple years are mostly doing it to satiate their muses. So it’s no wonder it took Stevie Nicks a full 10 years to get back to making a proper solo album.

“In Your Dreams,” out Tuesday, is her first studio album since 2001’s “Trouble in Shangri-La” and it’s been an excrutiatingly long wait for her bastion of rabid fans, among some of the most loyal in all of rock.

For all her ‘80s industriousness — she churned out an amazing amount of product both on her own and with Fleetwood Mac in that whirlwind decade — boy, did we pay for it in the ’00s. There were gems along the way — the 2003 Mac album “Say You Will” is an underrated tour de force for her and Lindsey Buckingham — but fans hoping she’d have a career renaissance after kicking years of drug problems were sorely disappointed. She seemed largely content to tour, do guest spots and the occasional hits package (“Crystal Visions”) or live project (“Soundstage Sessions”).

“Dreams,” a classy and melodically rich collaboration with Dave Stewart (The Eurythmics), arrives with anticipation set at fever-pitch levels. It’s been such a long wait, there’s almost no way the album could live up to expectations. But setting that aside and putting things into perspective, it’s pretty obvious from the first spin this is one of Nicks’ strongest, most consistent albums, perhaps even her best since 1985’s “Rock a Little.” It blows 1994’s dismal “Street Angel” away and while individual songs on “Trouble” are better than most of the tracks here, “Dreams” is overall a better, more cohesive album.

Several songs chug along with a mid-temp, driving beat reminiscent of “Talk to Me,” like first single “Secret Love,” the Edgar Allen Poe-inspired “Annabel Lee” and the slightly lighter, slightly slower “Everybody Loves You.” Several songs start slow but then blossom in unexpected ways — the rugged, jangly beat on “Wide Sargasso Sea” doesn’t kick in until the second verse; the strange and catchy “Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream)” gradually picks up steam.

Most of the album follows these light rock/A.C.-flavored vibes and tempos. The lone rocker is also one of the album’s best cuts — the lyrically brilliant “Ghosts Are Gone,” an incisive snapshot of how past loves still haunt.

“For What It’s Worth” sounds a little flat at first — it’s a potent lyrical snapshot of the possibility of romance with someone who’s already in another relationship, but its refrain is initially almost an anti-chorus as it seems to sap the song of its momentum. Nicks doubles her vocals an octave higher on the second and third choruses, a trick used on several of the “Say You Will” cuts, that adds great texture again here.

Things get rather unexpected in the final three tracks. “You May Be the One,” a bluesy, torchy number provides welcomed contrast musically while penultimate cut “Italian Summer” finds Nicks actually belting something out for a change. Her vocal strengths, especially in recent years, have lied mostly in her distinctive timbre rather than oomph. She never had the lung power of, say, Annie Lennox or Ann Wilson (Heart), but she flirts with it on “Summer.” Here’s hoping she includes that in her live show — it has the potential to be a huge show-stopping moment.

The only dud is the odd, spare “Soldier’s Angel,” a duet with Buckingham that never catches fire. It’s a shame, too — it has a lovely lyric. Much better is “Cheaper Than Free,” a duet with Stewart that closes the record on a tender, understated note.

If there’s any overarching disappointment to the whole thing, it’s simply that Nicks feels a little too relaxed, a little too vocally middle of the road at age 62. Nobody, of course, is expecting her to tear it up like the wild woman she was in her early Mac years in the ‘70s, but it would have been great if Stewart and co-producer Glen Ballard (Alanis Morissette) could have elicited a little of the vocal energy she brought to legendary cuts like “Stand Back,” “Edge of Seventeen,” “Seven Wonders” or “I Can’t Wait.” Nicks thanks her vocal coach in the liner notes. He’s probably done wonders for the longevity of her voice — few are the forces of nature like Tina Turner or gospel’s Shirley Caesar who can let it rip for decades on end — but if there’s any of that left in the Nicks pipeline, it would have given the album more energy and would have been great to get down on wax.

But that’s quibbling — overall, this is a stately, grand and highly welcomed return to recording from one of rock’s best, and in some ways underrated, singers.


Celebrity News

Anne Heche dies after removal from life support

Actress dated Ellen DeGeneres in late 1990s



(Screenshot/YouTube Inside Edition)

Actress Anne Heche died after she was removed from life support on Sunday, nearly two weeks after her Mini-Cooper crashed through a two-story house in Los Angeles’ Mar Vista neighborhood. Investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department believe she was intoxicated at the time.

She sustained a severe anoxic brain injury along with severe burns and was being treated at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital, near Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley.

The 53-year-old actress who was a star of films like “Donnie Brasco,” the political satire “Wag the Dog” and the 1998 remake of “Psycho,” had been declared legally dead under California law on Friday, however, her family kept her alive long enough to be an organ donor.

In a statement Friday, the LAPD announced that: “As of today, there will be no further investigative efforts made in this case. Any information or records that have been requested prior to this turn of events will still be collected as they arrive as a matter of formalities and included in the overall case. When a person suspected of a crime expires, we do not present for filing consideration.” LAPD detectives had previously made public that investigators into the crash found narcotics in a blood sample taken from Heche.

The actress’s family released a statement on Friday:

“Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend. Anne will be deeply missed but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work, and her passionate advocacy. Her bravery for always standing in her truth, spreading her message of love and acceptance, will continue to have a lasting impact,” the statement added.

Heche was married to camera operator Coleman Laffoon from 2001 to 2009. The two had a son, Homer, together. She had another son, named Atlas, during a relationship with actor James Tupper, her co-star on the TV series “Men In Trees.”

Laffoon left a moving tribute on an Instagram reel in which he also gave an update on how their 20-year-old son Homer Laffoon is coping with the loss of his mother.

“I loved her and I miss her, and I’m always going to,” he said adding: “Homer is okay. He’s grieving, of course, and it’s rough. It’s really rough, as probably anybody can imagine. But he’s surrounded by family and he’s strong, and he’s gonna be okay.”

“Rest In Peace, Mom, I love you, Homer,” the actor’s 20-year-old son, Homer, said in a statement after Heche was declared legally dead on Friday.“ My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom,” read the statement. “After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness. Hopefully, my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom. Over those six days, thousands of friends, family, and fans made their hearts known to me. I am grateful for their love, as I am for the support of my Dad, Coley, and my stepmom Alexi who continue to be my rock during this time. Rest In Peace Mom, I love you, Homer.”

Tupper, a Canadian actor who starred alongside Heche in “Men in Trees,” had a 13-year-old son, Atlas, with her. “Love you forever,” Tupper, 57, wrote on his Instagram post’s caption with a broken heart emoji, which shared an image of the actress from Men in Trees.

Between 1997 and 2000, Heche was also in a relationship with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

“This is a sad day,” DeGeneres posted on Twitter. “I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.” The year after her break-up with the comedian, in September 2001, Heche recounted in her memoir “Call Me Crazy,” about her lifelong struggles with mental health and a childhood of abuse.

KTLA’s entertainment reporter Sam Rubin noted that over the past two decades, Heche’s career pivoted several times. In 2017, she hosted a weekly radio show on SiriusXM with Jason Ellis called “Love and Heche.”

In 2020, Heche made her way into the podcast world. She launched “Better Together” which she cohosted alongside Heather Duffy Boylston. The show was described as a way to celebrate friendship. 

She also worked in smaller films, on Broadway, and on TV shows. She recently had recurring roles on the network series “Chicago P.D.,” and “All Rise” and was a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.”

People magazine reported that several of Heche’s acting projects are expected to be released posthumously.

These include “Girl in Room 13,” expected to be released on Lifetime in September, “What Remains,” scheduled to be released in 2023, and HBO Max TV series “The Idol,” created by Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) and Euphoria creator Sam Levinson.

In her Instagram post from earlier this year Heche stands between her sons Atlas, 13 and Homer, 20.

From KTLA:

Continue Reading

Celebrity News

‘Star Trek’ actress Nichelle Nichols dies at 89

George Takei tweets ‘we lived long and prospered together’



(Screenshot/YouTube The Smithsonian Channel)

She was a groundbreaking cultural icon who broke barriers in a time of societal upheaval and battling for the civil rights of Black Americans. An actress, a mother and thoroughly devoted to the legions of fans of “Star Trek,” Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek’s Lt. Nyota Uhura, has died at 89.

The announcement on her Facebook page by her son read:

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Friends, Fans, Colleagues, World

I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years.

Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. Her light however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration.

Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.

I, and the rest of our family, would appreciate your patience and forbearance as we grieve her loss until we can recover sufficiently to speak further. Her services will be for family members and the closest of her friends and we request that her and our privacy be respected.

Live Long and Prosper,

Kyle Johnson

Nichols was born in Robbins, Ill., in 1932, according to her IMDb page. Legendary composer Duke Ellington “discovered” Nichols and helped her become a singer and dancer. She later turned to acting, and joined Gene Roddenberry’s “Star Trek,” where she played Uhura from 1966 to 1969.

Out actor George Takei who played ‘Sulu’ on Star Trek the original series with Nichelle Nichols who played Lt. Nyota Uhura, at a Star Trek convention in this undated photo. (George Takei/Twitter)

It was in that role of Uhura that Nichols not only broke barriers between races, most famously her onscreen kiss, the first between a Black person and a white person, with castmate William Shatner, who played Capt. James T. Kirk, but she also became a role model for young Black women and men inspiring them to seek out their own places in science, technology, and other human endeavors.

In numerous interviews over the years Nichols often recalled how the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a fan of the show and praised her role and personally encouraged her to stay with the series.

When the first series ended Nichols went on to become a spokesperson for NASA, where she “helped recruit and inspire a new generation of fearless astronauts.” She later reprised her role in several successful “Star Trek” films and continued to advocate for the advancement of Black Americans especially in the areas of science and technology.

Formerly a NASA deputy administrator, Frederick Gregory, now 81, told the Associated Press he once saw an advertisement in which Nichols said “I want you to apply for the NASA program.”

“She was talking to me,” he recounted. The U.S. Air Force pilot would apply and later become the first African American shuttle pilot.

President Joe Biden weighed in Sunday afternoon on her passing in a statement issued by the White House:

In Nichelle Nichols, our nation has lost a trailblazer of stage and screen who redefined what is possible for Black Americans and women.
A daughter of a working-class family from Illinois, she first honed her craft as an actor and singer in Chicago before touring the country and the world performing with the likes of Duke Ellington and giving life to the words of James Baldwin.
During the height of the Civil Rights Movement, she shattered stereotypes to become the first Black woman to act in a major role on a primetime television show with her groundbreaking portrayal of Lt. Uhura in the original Star Trek. With a defining dignity and authority, she helped tell a central story that reimagined scientific pursuits and discoveries. And she continued this legacy by going on to work with NASA to empower generations of Americans from every background to reach for the stars and beyond.
Our nation is forever indebted to inspiring artists like Nichelle Nichols, who show us a future where unity, dignity, and respect are cornerstones of every society.

Nichols son said that services will be private for family members and her closest friends.

In 2008 the actress at a news conference, coordinated by the filmmakers of the motion picture “TRU LOVED,” in honor of the more than 900 students at Los Angeles’ Miguel Contreras Learning Complex’s School of Social Justice who participated in the GLSEN Day of Silence.

Nichelle Nichols speaks on LGBTQ rights:

Her fellow castmate and life long friend, openly Out actor George Takei shared his sadness on hearing of Nichols’ passing on Twitter:

From the September 2016 edition of the Smithsonian Channel: “Star Trek’s decision to cast Nichelle Nichols, an African American woman, as major character on the show was an almost unheard-of move in 1966. But for black women all over the country, it redefined the notions of what was possible.”

Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols on Uhura’s Radical Impact:

Continue Reading


Emma Corin becomes first nonbinary person featured on cover of American Vogue

The star of The Crown opened up about their identity.



Emma Corrin Jamie Hawkesworth/Vogue

Emma Corin was announced as the cover star of the August edition of Vogue. It’s the first time a nonbinary person is featured on the cover of American Vogue.

Corin posted the cover photo and wrote, “My grin really says it all! A huge honour to be your August cover.”

In early 2021, Corin quietly came out as a queer and nonbinary, changing pronouns to “she/they” in their instagram bio. Currently Corin sticks to pronouns “they/them.”

“I feel much more seen when I’m referred to as ‘they,’ but my closest friends, they will call me ‘she,’ and I don’t mind, because I know they know me,” Corin explained during the interview with Vogue.

Corin stated that they’ve still gone on dates with various kinds of people and set no limit on who they date. “I like people,” they simply said and shrugged.

Corin also shared some of their dating experiences. “My first date with a girl, they were like, Oh! You’re a baby queer!” Corin said, “It was amazing. We actually didn’t end up seeing each other again, but she really gave me the lowdown.”

Besides, Corin was frank about their conflicting feelings towards gender and sexuality issues. “I’m working out all this complex gender and sexuality stuff. And yet, I’m seeing a guy? That feels very juxtaposed, even if I’m very happy.”

Corin is known for playing Diana on the Netflix series The Crown.

Continue Reading

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade