Maria McKee - Maria McKee Live Acoustic

Come on, admit it, you were thinking the exact same thing as me - what the world really needs right now is a live and acoustic album by Maria McKee. This is what the kids what! Finally, here it is, capturing what is apparently a rare and intimate performance by Maria. Teaming up with her friend Susan Otten, the two have travelled Europe and the United States, recently playing four gigs in the UK. This album captures the spirit of those concerts, with a mixture of her own original compositions and a few select covers.

And no, she doesn't do Show Me Heaven, the song that in this country (and probably globally) she is best known for. Taken from the zippy Tom Cruise driving film "Days of Thunder", this tonsil-stretching big rock ballad was a hit back in 1989. One thing though that I didn't know about Maria is that she wrote the Fergal Sharkey hit A Good Heart, which does appear on this collection.

The songs here are either performed on guitar or piano, and sound very raw. Sometimes though, the recordings just don't sound all that good, her voice coming across as strained at times, harsh and high in the mix. Something else that slightly spoils this release is the inclusion of all of her between song banter, which is rarely interesting, usually just Maria complementing the crowd (who obviously we can't see) on their enthusiasm. These exchanges really spoil the flow of the album, proving tedious after a fashion, severely spoiling any replay value.

Still, some of the songs are pretty good. As mentioned, A Good Heart is performed and sounds excellent, tender and delicate, far removed from the version by Sharkey. The songs written by her half brother Bryan MacLean (of the band Love) also sound pretty good. However, on the whole this is an album with a limited capacity to entertain. It is mildly diverting for one listen, but would I think prove too dull to listen to again.



out of 10
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