On Tusk, Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 double-record opus, band leader Lindsey Buckingham pulled out all the sonic stops, creating a multilayered album that ranks as one of the finest — and weirdest — in the pop-rock group’s history.

He poured on studio effects. To get certain sounds he wanted, he banged on bathroom pipes. For the title track, he even hired the University of Southern California’s Trojan marching band and recorded the song live at Dodger Stadium.

These days, the 57-year-old guitarist, singer and California native is a bit more laid-back. His most recent album, last year’s Under the Skin, is his most stripped-down release yet, with or without Fleetwood Mac. It’s a guitar album, for sure, but it’s a far cry from the flashy, guitar-solo electricity of his Mac moments such as I’m So Afraid or Big Love. Pensive and quiet, it often features just Buckingham strumming or lightly picking a guitar.

“The whole concept of this album started out when Fleetwood Mac reunited for its first tour several years ago,” he says, calling from his California home. “I did a coupla songs, Go Insane and Big Love, solo acoustic, and fans seemed to like that so much, I thought to myself, ‘This is really connecting with the audience.’ The effectiveness was so apparent, and it’s really the center of what I do.”

But because Fleetwood Mac’s reunion tour was greeted with so much enthusiasm, the group — Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine and John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood — decided to return to the studio, temporarily derailing Buckingham’s desire to record an acoustic album. After the band (minus Christine McVie, who retired from the group amid the recording sessions) released the resulting album, 2003’s Say You Will, Buckingham took his phone off the hook and banged out Under the Skin. He’s now on a full-fledged solo tour, his first in a decade, and it brings him to Fort Worth on Saturday.

“I haven’t done this in a while,” he says, laughing. “The only other time I did a solo tour came and went very quickly. I’ve been wanting to get this album out for years, but I have to walk a line between my needs and the needs of Fleetwood Mac. But what’s great about doing an album on my own is that you don’t have to worry about the needs of others. You know, this is not a radio album. It’s an art album.”

There has always been a small or large element of artiness to Buckingham’s music. When he and Stevie Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac in the early ’70s, the couple  reinvented the band’s music. Practically overnight, the group went from paying homage to its roots in the British blues-rock community to mirroring the sunny-pop atmosphere of California.

Buckingham, who has been playing guitar since he was 7 years old, was the band’s driving force until its 1987 album, Tango in the Night. Shortly after its release, he abruptly left the group, and the band went through numerous lineup shifts before reuniting in 1997.

“The hugeness of it all — the voyeurs and the care that many of our fans had invested in Fleetwood Mac — was exciting and enabling, but it also had this potential for being disabling, which, eventually, it was for me,” he says. “But the moment that validates everything was the making of Tusk. If we had tried to make Rumours II, it would have been the beginning of what others expected us to do. By subverting that expectation, it allowed me to say, ‘This is what’s important to me.’ When [ Tusk] didn’t sell 60 million copies, the record company said, ‘We want you to produce, but you can’t do that again.’ For me, that was the line in the sand — you gotta follow your instincts and try to grow.”

In the same way that Buckingham and Nicks’ debut record with the band, 1975’s Fleetwood Mac, reflected the optimism of new and budding relationships, and 1977’s Rumours melodically communicated what happens when those relationships crumble, Under the Skin captures where Buckingham is today: content, with a wife and three children.

Family photos are sprinkled throughout the liner notes, and on the CD booklet’s last page, the final words are directed at his family: “You are my life.”

“This is a record about getting to the second act of your life,” he says. “The catalyst for that, for me, was meeting my wife and having three children.

“I used to lead my life in a very narrow way emotionally. I just focused on my forward motion, workwise, and lived behind a fortress of some kind….

“Now, having met my wife and having had three children, I’m now applying everything I learned as an artist to a family situation, and everything that I’m still learning as a father back to my music.”


8 p.m. Saturday, Bass Hall, Fort Worth


817-212-4280 or www.basshall.com