Sunday, June 23, 2013

you gotta sin to get saved

Maria McKee found redemption in the soulful country rock of this powerful and passionate roots revival.  McKee had found success in the UK as a songwriter with Feargal Sharkey's rendition of 'A Good Heart' while in the US her band Lone Justice made waves of their own with two albums of roots rock before imploding.  Her excellent eponymous solo debut was considered a commercial disappointment; and McKee went on hiatus in Ireland.  While there, she her own number one hit in the UK with 'Show Me Heaven' from the 'Days of Thunder' soundtrack.  

McKee recalls:    "I moved away, I got homesick, I missed my friends. I missed the music I grew up with, I missed that original celebration that Lone Justice had...I was flirting with all different kinds of music. I didn’t know what I was gonna do...I had written all these weird songs, everything from cabaret music to Kate Bush music." 

She decided to work with producer George Drakoulias who had worked with the Black Crowes and the Jayhawks.  She brought in former bandmates from Lone Justice as well as guitarists from the Jayhawks for the recordings.  The sessions for 'You Gotta Sin to Get Saved' featured Maria McKee on piano, rhythm guitar, and vocals; Jon Auer on background vocals; Bruce Brody on organ, piano, Hammond organ, background vocals, handclapping, and Wurlitzer; David Campbell as conductor; George Drakoulias and Jim Keltner on drums; Marvin Etzioni on bass, guitar, mandolin, background vocals, and handclapping; Don Heffington on percussion, drums, background vocals, and handclapping; Gary Louris on electric guitar, background vocals, and handclapping; Spyder Mittleman on saxophone; Bud O'Brien and Don Was on bass; Mark Olson on acoustic guitar, guitar, harmonica, background vocals, and handclapping; Benmont Tench on organ, piano, Hammond organ, background vocals, handclapping, Wurlitzer, and vox organ; Mike Utley on piano; with Dale Lavi and Nicol Sponberg  on handclapping; Ken Stringfellow, Julia Waters, Maxine Waters, and Edna Wright on background vocals; and horns by The Memphis Horns.  

'You Gotta Sin to Get Saved' rose to number twenty-six in the UK, twelve in Sweden and on the US Heatseeker Chart, and number eleven in Norway.  McKee explains the album title:   "To take a word like sin and sort of demystify it and just take it out of religious terms - that's what I'm trying to do here.  It's just basically for me that title is more of a human term.  we're sort of all on the same path - looking for something; and there's different stages of faith, different stages of truth."

"I'm Gonna Soothe You" eased on up to number thirty-five in the UK.

"My Lonely Sad Eyes"

"My Girlhood Among the Outlaws"

"Only Once" 

"I Forgive You" 

"I Can't Make It Alone" made it to number seventy-four in the UK.

"Precious Time"

"Why Wasn't I More Grateful (When Life Was Sweet)" 

"You Gotta Sin to Get Saved" 

'You Gotta Sin to Get Saved'
full album:

"I'm Gonna Soothe You" (Bruce Brody, Marvin Etzioni, McKee) – 3:36
"My Lonely Sad Eyes" (Van Morrison) – 2:41
"My Girlhood Among the Outlaws" (McKee) – 3:44
"Only Once" (McKee) – 4:03
"I Forgive You" (Sam Brown, McKee) – 5:06
"I Can't Make It Alone" (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) – 3:38
"Precious Time" (Gary Louris, Mark Olson) – 3:35
"The Way Young Lovers Do" (Van Morrison) – 3:29
"Why Wasn't I More Grateful (When Life Was Sweet)" (Brody, Etzioni, McKee) – 5:05
"You Gotta Sin to Get Saved" (Brody, Sam Dogg, Etzioni, McKee) – 5:49

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