I first fell for Maria McKee’s voice in the 80’s through a borrowed Lone Justice album. A boy who sat next to me in English class told me about them, describing them as cow punk, with a singer whose voice was like an angel and a demon had a lovechild. High school ended, and that boy faded into past memory, but Maria’s voice stayed with me.
It was the last Lilith Fair year. Friends of mine had gathered, some from my city, some from across the states, and a few from other countries. We were all connected via the early internet, our love of a one-season 90’s tv series, and music. Maria sang in the late afternoon sun, and later, while waiting in line for an ice cream for my young daughter (her first concert), Maria stood in front of us, turning around to smile at us. I wanted to tell her about the boy and his angel and demon theory. I wanted to tell her how much I loved her newest album. I wanted to tell her that her voice was something I loved so very much. Shyness took over, the kind I hadn’t felt since my teen years, so I just smiled back and said “you were amazing up there.” She said “thanks,” and then asked my daughter what her favorite ice cream flavor was.
Picking a song to share from Maria is tough. I have so many favorites. Songs that make me cry. Songs that make me scream-sing-a-long. Songs that shake me, wake me, make me glad to be alive. I settled for “Precious Time”, as it just felt right for today. Beautiful and poignant, so much of a story, one I can close my eyes and see come to life.
“He’s just sittin’ on a corner, wastin’ time.
He’s just sittin’ on a corner, wastin’ time.
Wastin’ all his precious time, wastin’ all his time.
Everyone, never wonderin’ why.
She just spends all her money, half the rent.
On dresses and jewelry and playin’ cards.
Playin’ cards from dawn ’til night.
Playin’ cards all night.
Everyone, never wonderin’ why.”
I love this live version Maria did, with the Jayhawks
Check out more of Maria McKee’s music HERE. There is so much music of hers to listen to, and enjoy.