Women Music March 2022 – Day 18 – Maria McKee, by Guest Writer, Max Gower

Before we get into the Women Music March featured artist of the day, Maria McKee, it is my pleasure to let you know today’s post is written by my good blogging buddy, Max Gower, whose blog, PowerPop… An Eclectic Collection of Pop Culture is one I visit every day. Thank you so much for writing this, Max. I knew you would do proper honors to this exceptional musical artist.

Maria McKee

“The greatest girl singer any band could have.” — Dolly Parton

When you get that kind of an endorsement from Dolly Parton, you are doing something right. Maria McKee was a little different than her peers in the 1980s. She helped form a band called Lone Justice in 1982. They were one of the founding acts in the cowpunk movement, a roots revival scene that merged country and rockabilly with touches of punk. Great movement…wrong decade. Country rock wasn’t exactly at its height with New Wave and Hairbands as far as the eyes could see.

Lone Justice did have their supporters like Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Linda Ronstadt, and more. Ronstadt helped them get signed to Geffen Records in 1985. They released an album, the self-titled Lone Justice. Their first single, Ways To Be Wicked, was written by Tom Petty and Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers. The album was produced by their manager Jimmy Iovine and it peaked at #56 in the Billboard Album charts and #62 in the Country Charts. The album was so hyped that it was not treated like a debut but one that was called “one of the best ever” by a Rolling Stone writer. There was no way it could live up to expectations.

They opened for bands such as U2 and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I saw them first on Saturday Night Live in 1985 doing Ways to be Wicked and liked them right away. I’ve never liked the popular 80’s dance music at all so this band with the irresistible female lead singer that played rootsy music hooked me from the start. In the 80s, this is what I had been looking for.

Their second album Shelter Me was more of a pop album and less of the music that brought them attention. It was also produced by Little Steven and Jimmy Iovine but did not cause the excitement or chart action that the debut did.

The band soon disbanded because they never got a chance to grow. They were being told what to do by every side. Band members were being fired on tour by the record company and Maria was being told what to sound like and what not to sound like. She said she wanted to play music on her own terms, and she did.

A compilation album by Lone Justice was released in 2014 from 1983 called The Vaught Tapes before they had a record contract. You can hear the cowboy punk of their early years…like the song Soap, Soup, and Salvation.

Maria McKee2

 Maria McKee solo Discography

Maria McKee discography

Studio albums


Live albums


Compilation albums




 Since 1989 she has released 7 studio albums with the last one in 2020 call La Vita Nuova and it peaked at #1 in the UK Americana Albums charts. She did have a #1 single in the UK in 1993 called Show Me Heaven off the Days of Thunder soundtrack.

She has 9 actress credits and 34 soundtrack credits.

Some things to share
Maria has worked with Robbie Robertson, Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander, Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle, the Golden Horde, the Heads, and Counting Crows. She wrote songs for Bette Midler, the Dixie Chicks, and Patty Loveless. She also wrote and sang “If Love Is a Red Dress (Hang Me in Rags)”, the only original song on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack that was chosen by Quentin Tarantino.

Maria McKee is my personal favorite female singer of the 80s although her peak of popularity was brief, I followed her throughout her career. Her voice is unique, and she has a wonderful feel for music. She is a singer, songwriter, author, and actress. She has fought through her own battles and still releases music today. “I’m a child of trauma and the product of a certain kind of wiring,” she reveals. “As well as PTSD, I also have ADHD, OCD, and Bipolar 3, the rapid-cycling, lesser version of bipolar. On interviews she is open about her life and music and so genuine.




15 Comments Add yours

  1. Badfinger (Max) says:

    Thank you Lisa! Would you mind if I placed a link on my page to this?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      You’re welcome. Please do 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Badfinger (Max) says:

        Just did!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. The Hinoeuma says:

      The second album was Shelter, not Shelter Me. I had both Lone Justice & Shelter on cassette and wore them both out.

      She has the most amazing voice. One song that is a particular favorite of mine (besides the “Shelter” single) is Wheels. Beautiful, agonizing song. What a powerhouse.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Badfinger (Max) says:

        You know why I typed that? I was listening to Cinderella’s Shelter Me and it was earlier in the day lol.
        I like her cow punk days most of all… amazing voice.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The Hinoeuma says:

          LOL! Brain cramp!

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Badfinger (Max) says:

            Yep…I was writing another post…and the Me slipped in there

            Liked by 1 person

            1. The Hinoeuma says:

              Gotta watch those rogue “me”s…LOL!

              Liked by 2 people

  2. Dave says:

    Good post Max (and Lisa). Definitely Lone justice were a band that should have done a bit better. I did see them open for U2 (84 or possibly early 85) and I can’t say now that I remember them in much detail, but I know we all (five of us from my summer job went) thought they were very solid and I didn’t sense anyone in the crowd being annoyed that they were on stage, unlike many opening acts you see.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. memadtwo says:

    She does a great version of Let Your Light Shine on Me on the Blind Willie Johnson tribute. I always think of her as a blues singer, for me that’s where her voice is at its best. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Kerfe, you’re awesome for knowing so many of these artists well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. memadtwo says:

        I know the older ones, not so much the new ones. Stuck in the music of my youth…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Aphoristical says:

    I think Paul from Mike and Paul’s Music Blog is a fan too – he’s recommended her before.

    Liked by 2 people

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