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Snow Mass Village Sun

Don’t expect “Rhiannon” or “You Can Go Your Own Way” when Mick Fleetwood performs on the Fanny Hill stage this weekend. Instead, the co-founder of Fleetwood Mac has cobbled together a hard-hitting blues band that pays homage to his early years with the group and to the music of artists like John Lee Hooker and Sonny Boy Williamson.

Tickets are $125 for VIP access and $50 for general admission for the June 14 performance (tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m.) and available through www.mountaingroove.inticketing.com or 866-55-TICKETS.

“I’ve got my oxygen mask all ready” for the high-altitude performance, Fleetwood quipped this week from his home in Maui. His visit here has dual purposes – to showcase s band that includes veteran blues player Rick Vito, bassist Lenny Castellanos and keyboard player Mark Johnstone – but also to introduce his Private Cellar wine to the thousands of oenophiles expected to turn out for the Food & Wine Classic at Aspen.

“I’ve certainly heard about this whole (food and wine festival) that goes one there. And selfishly, I get to play. It’s all great,” he said.

Fleetwood is as discerning about vino as he is about the process of making music.

“When we first started (Mick Fleetwood Private Cellar), I went in with the trust that I had to stay totally true to the school, better or worse, that the choice in the bottle is chosen by me, blended by me,” he said. After a half-dozen years and the production of 18 wines, nine of his vintages received bronze or better medals in international competition.

Make no mistake: Fleetwood isn’t a gentleman winemaker who presides over a $60 million vineyard. That’s of no interest to the musician. Instead, he prefers to assume an active role in the wine’s creation – maybe selecting a little more syrah here, a drop of cuvée there.

What Fleetwood said has helped him create great vintages is the ability to accept, even encourage, criticism, from those experts around you. “It’s very much like the journey of writing a song – you craft it, think you’ve got it right then you go back into the ‘studio.’”

It also helps to have confidence in your taste buds too, “What I do have is the trust in what I like,” he said.

What’s a more difficult task, making good wine or good music?

“I would say music because it’s so contingent in the finite sense of the word; there are more variable and more people involved rather than one person arriving at a decision. With both music and wine you get a little bit of this, a little bit of that.”

In August, Fleetwood Mac will celebrate its 40th anniversary as a band and the iconic co-founder said that by late fall, he, Stevie Nicks, John McVie and Lindsay Buckingham will return to the studio to record a few songs (not an album, that’s too old school). Prior to that, Fleetwood will perform some gigs in Europe with his blues band. And when he’s not busy with those musicians, he’s taken a new liking to indigenous Hawaiian music something akin to “a luau in Detroit,” said his manager Jonathan Todd.

Here in Snowmass, attendees can expect to hear the best of Fleetwood Mac circa 1967-70 plus “the whole American blues journey,” Fleetwood said, including songs such as “Albatross” and “Black Magic Woman” (which was a Mac song before it was a Santana anthem).

“It’s a super tight band,” stressed the legendary blues-rocker-oenophile, who reminds that on Saturday night, “You will not be hearing ‘Rhiannon.’”