10 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

After the splintering of her band Lone Justice in the late 1980s, singer Maria McKee took some years to find her way artistically. You Gotta Sin To Get Saved (1993) was more than a return to form — it marked her full emergence as an artist in command of her talents. While the album reunited her with former bandmates Marvin Etzioni and Don Heffington, its approach was a step away from the neo-L.A. country rock of her Lone Justice days. McKee wades into steamy R&B terrain on “I’m Gonna Sooth You” and rises to glorious gospel heights on “I Forgive You.” Much of the album invokes the Woodstock-era sounds of the Band and Van Morrison — “My Girlhood Among The Outlaws” in particular strikes a roots-rock note. (The sonic link with Morrison is made explicit by a pair of well-rendered Van the Man covers as well.) The title track is a fiercely woozy New Orleans sing-along that lets Maria wail with the abandon of a not-quite-sorry sinner. And, yes, there is a honky-tonk tune (“Only Once”) to please her older fans. An ambitious creative stretch, You Gotta Sin To Get Saved remains McKee’s best-realized work.

EDITORS’ NOTES

After the splintering of her band Lone Justice in the late 1980s, singer Maria McKee took some years to find her way artistically. You Gotta Sin To Get Saved (1993) was more than a return to form — it marked her full emergence as an artist in command of her talents. While the album reunited her with former bandmates Marvin Etzioni and Don Heffington, its approach was a step away from the neo-L.A. country rock of her Lone Justice days. McKee wades into steamy R&B terrain on “I’m Gonna Sooth You” and rises to glorious gospel heights on “I Forgive You.” Much of the album invokes the Woodstock-era sounds of the Band and Van Morrison — “My Girlhood Among The Outlaws” in particular strikes a roots-rock note. (The sonic link with Morrison is made explicit by a pair of well-rendered Van the Man covers as well.) The title track is a fiercely woozy New Orleans sing-along that lets Maria wail with the abandon of a not-quite-sorry sinner. And, yes, there is a honky-tonk tune (“Only Once”) to please her older fans. An ambitious creative stretch, You Gotta Sin To Get Saved remains McKee’s best-realized work.

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