Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Anthologies are rarely an occasion to coo over an artist’s accomplishments, offering few surprises or revelations. But Lindsey Buckingham’s solo career is frequently overshadowed by his work with Fleetwood Mac. Thus, Solo Anthology: The Best of Lindsey Buckingham is a welcome overview of his neglected work outside the hit machine he’s been tangled up with since the mid-‘70s. The talents that made him an attractive prospect for that outfit endured into his solo career, which began in full swing via 1981’s Law and Order. Namely? He’s an ace composer, guitar wizard and production genius cut from the same cloth as Les Paul, an underappreciated innovator whose taste sometimes obscured the depths of his virtuosity. The fact that he’s a singular vocalist who emotes like no other is an incredible bonus. Hearing him in the solo context accentuates these gifts. Eschewing chronology, Solo Anthology is organized like a brand-new album that pulls the heartstrings and occasionally speaks to our deepest fears and darkest angers. What’s more, tunes culled from Law and Order seamlessly rub elbows with tracks from 2011’s supremely brilliant Seeds We Sow. Spread across three discs, including a live set that weaves in half a dozen Mac tracks, the anthology could do for Buckingham what Unplugged did for Eric Clapton: Reinvigorate fervor for an artist who had come to be taken for granted. The first disc, a batch of 21 tunes, reminds us how brilliant Buckingham’s 1992 effort Out of the Cradle was. His first release after leaving Mac in 1987, the collection was well-received in critical circles, garnering four stars in Rolling Stone and other outlets. It didn’t fare as well commercially, despite major airplay via “Countdown” and “Wrong.” Still, it’s probably the masterwork of his solo career, an artistic statement writ large that found him grappling with a young man’s anger at middle age amidst loss and rebirth. There are a half dozen pieces drawn from that effort, including “Don’t Look Down,” which leads the charge, the deeply emotional “Surrender the Rain,” the “Big Love”-esque “Doing What I Can,” the reconciliatory “Street Of Dreams” and the resolute “I Must Go.” Each serves as a powerful reminder of Buckingham’s gifts as a writer, arranger, guitarist and lyricist. Moreover, they provide testimony of the thin line between anger and grief and show that the former is not solely a young man’s game nor is the latter the sole territory of the aged. “Trouble” (1981), meanwhile, is a meditation on new love with an old heart, a lush reflection on a heart that knows better but rushes in anyway. More than that, it’s an added glimpse at our hero’s talents on the guitar, an example of world influences creeping into American pop. In truth, there’s not a duff tune across those 20 and more titles; even the time-honored “Holiday Road” shines with a new vibrancy. Those looking for deeper cuts can take solace in the second disc. Everyone knows “Holiday Road,” Buckingham’s contribution to National Lampoon’s Vacation but, aside from a few obsessive collectors, most have probably forgotten “Dancin’ Across The USA.” Huey Lewis and The News dominated the hits from Back to the Future but another song from that film, “Time Bomb Town” deserves a fresh set of ears. “Hunger” and “Ride This Road” make their first appearances, providing evidence that the creative spark still remains strong for this musical veteran. Disc three provides the real roller coaster ride, spotlighting Buckingham’s guitar prowess and skills as a live performer with even greater intensity. Pulling from a small group of shows (mostly in 2011 and 2012), we get a fuller view of all that’s he done. Mac’s “Big Love” bursts from the speakers while the Buckingham Nicks gem “Stephanie” provides a nice surprise. Solo numbers such as “Trouble,” “Go Insane” and “Under the Skin” are welcome amid pieces such as “Bleed to Love Her,” “Go Your Own Way” and “Tusk.” Buckingham’s relationship with Fleetwood Mac doesn’t really matter; he’s proven himself to be a consummate composer and musician no matter the context.