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Maria McKee / La Vita Nuova

Maria McKee / La Vita Nuova

Limited 2LP ‘indies-only’ white vinyl • Hardcover book CD edition

Maria McKee returns early next year with a new album La Vita Nuova.

Mckee is remembered for her role in American country-rock band Lone Justice and for issuing some amazing solo records, including 1993’s You Gotta Sin To Be Saved (which includes the exquisite ‘I’m Gonna Soothe You’) and Life Is Sweet ( from 1996). Of course, she best known for UK number one single ‘Show Me Heaven’ which was featured in the Tony Scott film Days of Thunder.

Mckee’s last studio long-player, Late December, was released way back in 2007 and in the intervening years, Maria was working alongside her husband in independent film – casting, producing, scoring and acting in them.

However change was afoot. She is no longer with her husband and has recently come out as gay. She said: “Much of queer liberation is finding a way to live beyond hetero ruminative models we’re conditioned to live with. This album is, in a way, an exorcism, a sort of purging of those ideas and expectations”

Expanding on her feelings on what is “a really personal record”, Mckee said:

“I guess I was at that mid-point in life, looking at death, like a ‘Death In Venice’ moment where you have that vision of youth and beauty and it possesses you and you start to grieve for the loss of all the things that youth and beauty allow you to experience; I was grieving at not having had a child and also witnessing young lovers in a relationship that became a friendship and not knowing how to take a step beyond that.”

La Vita Nuova isn’t out until 13 March next year but you can secure a special limited  ‘indies-only’ double white vinyl edition or a ‘bookback’ (hardcover book) CD edition by pre-ordering below.

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La Vita Nuova - 2LP vinyl

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La Vita Nuova ‘indies-only’ 2LP white vinyl

Side A:
A1 Effigy of Salt
A2 Page of Cups
A3 Let Me Forget
A4 I Should Have Looked Away

Side B:
B1 Right Down to the Heart of London
B2 La Vita Nuova
B3 Little Beast

Side C:
C1 Courage
C2 Ceann Bró
C3 The Last Boy

Side D:
D1 I Never Asked
D2 I Just Want to Know That You’re Alright
D3 Weatherspace
D4 However Worn

La Vita Nuova hardcover CD edition

1 Effigy of Salt
2 Page of Cups
3 Let Me Forget
4 I Should Have Looked Away
5 Right Down to the Heart of London
6 La Vita Nuova
7 Little Beast
8 Courage
9 Ceann Bró
10 The Last Boy
11 I Never Asked
12 I Just Want to Know That You’re Alright
13 Weatherspace
14 However Worn

56 responses to Maria McKee / La Vita Nuova

  1. rfkavanagh says:

    Paul, will this be listed on the US sites as well? Don’t want to miss out on the indie exclusives but also don’t feel like paying shipping to the US if Rough Trade US is going to end up listing them. Thanks!

  2. Jeff O' says:

    This woman can do no wrong in my book and if “Effigy Of Salt” is indicative of what the rest of the album sounds like then bring it on. The cover of Sailin’ Shoes she does with Stevie Ray Vaughn, Van Dyke Parks, Chaka Khan and David Sanborn(Its from his Night Music TV Show) has for years been amongst my most watched You Tube Videos.

  3. SimonP says:

    Effigy of Salt just came up on my Spotify Release Radar playlist. What a bleedin’ awful racket! Barred it from playing again…

  4. Alan Mitchell says:

    Quick google later… “Oh THAT song…”.

    As others often mention, it’s good to be told of artists you may not know or overlooked. I subscribe to Mojo and listen to 6music but SDE covers a lot of artists they don’t.

  5. Pughie says:

    I admit I too had a crush on Maria she was totally gorgeous (still got it now) and I’ve seen her twice live in the UK doing acoustic based shows I have a ticket for nov 17th 2019 in Hackney (sold out) but I only go on the possibility she will do some Lone Justice tracks.
    I’d love to see a full band tour doing those tracks,I have her solo albums too but it’s so far from the 80’s synthpop I usually go for.
    Don’t forget she was the writer of the Feargal Sharkey No’1 A Good Heart and yes that is her on backing vocals with Madonna.
    Outing herself as Gay so what the only downside is that door is now closed for the teenage crush I had.
    To some people it’s a sin but as she sang “you gotta sin to get saved” luckily for us she is now saved to sing again.

  6. Calico Moonchild says:

    Interesting fact, Susanna Hoffs left a flyer in the ladies toilet at the ‘Whiskey A Go Go’ Club in LA during a Go-Go’s gig there in 1980 looking for girls to form a band that would ultimately metamorphosis into The Bangles. Maria who was only 16 at the time (and living at home with her Mother), was the only person who responded to that flyer but unfortunately during her audition the chemistry between Maria and Susanna was off and Maria never made the cut. (The actual past and present other members of what was initially The Bangs, responded to a later 2nd ad in a magazine called ‘The Recycler’).

    On her initial flyer, Susanna listed that one of many of her influences was the 60’s band Love (which was unusual for her generation during the burgeoning era of New Wave). Maria’s brother Bryan MacLean was at that time in the band Love with Arthur Lee (another of Susanna’s influences detailed on the flyer) and that is what prompted Maria to make the call for the audition.

    I find this to be of note as it is a more factual and widescreen representation of the actual variety inherent in Maria’s influences (external to the widely held narrative of her other ‘Cowpunk’ influence) that directly bled into the heavy Country inflections of Lone Justice and Maria’s own solo debut and sophomore albums’.

    Also (more than a decade later), Maria went on to co-write the ballad “I Forgive You” with Sam Brown (although this track initially featured on Maria’s 1993 sophomore solo album “You Gotta Sin To Get Saved” (whilst still signed to Geffen), Sam also recorded her own version of this song, four years later and released her version as a single which was also featured on her 1997 (fourth album) entitled ‘Box’, released on Demon Records.

  7. Mike Villano says:

    My friend, Ryan Hedgecock, formed Lone Justice with Maria, but rarely gets any credit for it. He and Maria began singing old country songs as a duo, then the band formed. As someone who saw them a lot at the beginning, it was a real shame to see how the music business chewed them up and spit them out so quickly. They had unrealistic expectations for them, and then tossed away when they couldn’t meet them. I really wish they had done a first album for Slash or some other indie before Geffen got their paws on them. There’s an album out there of their original stuff, when they were a lot more trad country, which should have been their debut (sez me). Then, the slicker Geffen record would have shown their growth in just a year or so. Too bad Coachella doesn’t come calling. I would love for my buddy to get a long overdue payday for this!

    That said, looking forward to this. She has always been a star to me.

  8. Robert Hammond says:

    A new Maria McKee album is always cause to celebrate – ‘Life is Sweet’ from 1996 is one of the great, unsung classic albums; worth tracking down, it’s a total gem.

    Paul – a quick note: on the widgets above, it states “MICK JAGGER, LA VITA NUOVA” :)

  9. Dirk says:

    Maria McKee’s work, both solo and with Lone Justice, is some of the greatest music I’ve ever heard. There’s a sincerity and beauty to it that I find utterly compelling. I’ll definitely be picking this one up!

  10. Brad says:

    Every note of music gifted to us by Maria Luisa McKee is a glimpse at a greater beauty beyond our everyday cognition. From what i’ve observed over the years, whatever she offers of her personal life and views has been intensely well meant and sincere. And if the lack of a simplified dance beat, repetitious groaning of vowels in lieu of lyrics, and no handful of dancing persons surrounding her limits her sales, her work will stand long after contemporary flashes in the pan cannot be recalled.
    …and i’ll stand on Bob and Peter’s coffee tables in my flipflops and say so.

  11. Steve Miller says:

    Maria’s first three solo albums are (each in their own way) marvellous, so, even though I think I lost track after High Dive, I think I will give this a try.

    Her Wichita Lineman cover is great btw. Look it up.

  12. Nick Love says:

    Wow a lot of surprisingly hostile comments on here. The search for love both for others and of yourself has been a common lyrical thread throughout 100 years of popular music, I fail to see why that just because Maria’s search has led her to people of her same gender why that suddenly makes it taboo. I think of Rufus Wainwright, whose sexuality has been a natural and integral part of his music since his debut 20 years ago, and wonder what it would sound like if people had told him to shut up about it back then.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Yes, let’s keep it civil people. I’ve had to not publish some comments because people can’t be measured about things and go into ‘rant’ mode.

      • SimonP says:

        When I mentioned to Mrs P that MM had started ‘batting for the other team’ she said “It’s the new black, isn’t it. I suppose she has a new album out to coincide with this revelation?”

        Made me chuckle.

        • Nick Love says:

          My wife said the same thing but I disagree – I feel like the world has finally reached a point of acceptance where people, a lot of whom may have felt this way for years, have finally felt emboldened enough to publicly embrace it. I think of it less as a cynical career move and more as a positive sign of the progress society has made.

  13. tom m hans says:

    Maria – You ARE The Light – excellent music that deserves to be heard over and over again. Wheels over Shelter, anytime. Peace. Love is a red dress is pure bliss and Show Me Heaven gives David Coverdale a run for his money on Days Of Thunder Soundtrack. Yes, Knocking On Heaven’s Door as well.

  14. James Giraffe says:

    Well here we go again, Paul. You mention someone who I’m vaguely aware of and I find it fascinating enough to dive in and explore. I’m streaming the You Gotta Sin To Be Saved album as I write this. And I’m quite enjoying it.

    A similar thing happened when you wrote about Sam Brown, and I ended up buying the box set and the album reissue (both from your store, incidentally).

    I love streaming music. It means I can discover new music immediately and my music streaming service allows me to upload stuff that I already own, so I can listen to the albums, b-sides, demos, remixes, etc, wherever and whenever I want.

    I still love CDs though. Much more portable and so much easier to rip than vinyl. (I do have a USB turntable, but my million-year-old laptop doesn’t like it.)

    Anyway – I’m waffling. My actual point was… Thanks, Paul, for “forcing” me to discover more music that is new to me.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Ha! You’re welcome – love getting this sort of feedback. Thanks.

      • James Giraffe says:

        You’re welcome. This sort of feedback is well deserved!

        I’m now, rather unwisely, listening to Live In Hamburg. I say “unwisely” purely because I’m really enjoying it, and cant tear myself away from it – yet I have to be up for work in seven hours, so I really should be getting ready for bed!

  15. AndyB says:

    Wow. I commented once that Paul sometimes doesn’t post my comments, and I don’t necessarily understand why, but I can’t believe Paul let Bob, Mark and Peter slip through. Such ugliness should be kept out of these posts. As for Peter’s comment, don’t most artists use their lives for subject matter? And please post a list of artists who have used their coming out as a way to sell records.

    I don’t really care if Maria is gay or straight, even though I must admit that I am disappointed solely because I had a massive crush on her in the ’80s which I now know will be completely unrequited :). It’s the music that matters, and I hope that this will be a great listen! You go, Maria!

    • John H says:

      I also had a crush on Maria so like Andy am slightly disappointed! But what great news, a new Maria album – she can sure belt out a tune and I’m already wishing my life away and March was tomorrow!

  16. Calico Moonchild says:

    She literally has no weak albums in her catalogue and they each mean so much to me for different reasons. Back when the Dixie Chicks covered “Am I The Only One (Who’s Ever Felt This Way)” I hoped Maria would at that point be appreciated by a wider audience but sadly it never happened. I am glad I discovered her work (including Lone Justice) so long ago and I am excited for this new album after the 12 long years since “Late December”. Her catalogue has always felt to me like an intimate secret that passed the mainstream by, Maybe this time it won’t.

  17. Chris Squires says:

    Two things. Maria McKee passed me by. I did buy a Lone Justice LP but only because the girl I was living with was mad about her but I was in the wrong phase of the relationship, you know the phase where she likes someone so you learn about them because you are mad about the girl. Wrong time and anyway I’d developed a short term obsession with an artist who completely disappeared called Jackie Quinn one brilliant album and poof…. gone.
    Secondly many people write their best music whilst undergoing changes or whilst under stress, which is why most artists best stuff is teenage or early / mid-20s whilst they are in turmoil and finding themselves. 45 year old Happily married with two kids Music is rarely groundbreaking. I would guess that coming out is quite stressful for many who do it and can lead to many perspectives and experiences that might pass the majority of settled 55 year olds by. So there is some relevance. As Tom Newman said about Mike Oldfield “He was a mental wreck. The worst thing he ever did was that rebirthing thing. It was the pain that was bringing the music through”
    We need our musicians broke and unhappy. So when an artist tells us of their current life situation it’s a bit simplistic to see it as marketing, it’s more likely to be the driving force to a second wind. A late career high from a divorce, a crooked accountant, coming out of the closet or the loss of a loved one is of course very tumultuous for the artist but, usually, quite good for our ears.
    Oh, and Bob, you couldn’t be more wrong if you tried.

    • Jackie Quinn released two albums ‘Don’t force the river’ and ‘Raging Wildflower’

      • Chris Squires says:

        What!!!!??
        Well that’s my day sorted. Thank you prog cat. I have no idea how I have missed this for…16 years!

        • rfkavanagh says:

          Are you sure that it’s the same Jackie Quinn? I too have been a big fan since Don’t Force The River and thought she’d never released anything since. Everything I can find online about the Jackie Quinn who released Raging Wildflower suggests she’s a different artist (religious artist who founded Wildflower Ministries; born in rural USA), despite the releases being combined under the same artist on Discogs. Would love to be wrong, although devout Christian music isn’t exactly my thing… :)

          P.S., Looking forward to Maria McKee’s new album! Odd to see the loons out in force on this post – keep up the good work, Paul!

          • Chris Squires says:

            I think it’s a different Jackie Quinn. I fell head over heels with Don’t force the river. Although she has never performed her own material live I have seen her live as she was one of the backing singers on that oh so bloody freezing night in Edinburgh when Mike Oldfield launched Tubular Bells II. I always thought Jackie was Northern Irish. Don’t know why, but I would put money on them being different people. Nobody else I’ve ever mentioned her name to has ever heard of her, but it is a beautiful album.

  18. Bryan says:

    I’ve met Maria several times. She’s possibly one of the most friendly, accommodating, generous ‘stars’ I’ve ever met. I always felt she has a genuine affection towards the people who admire her music. It’s a real pity that some of the people moved to place comments here are lacking in that spirit. The fact that Maria has publicly affirmed her sexuality is a matter of record. Paul, I’m sure you mentioned it because this aspect of her life most certainly HAS informed her recent song writing, which has always been emotional, reflective and deeply rooted. I for one applaud Maria for all she does and all she is. Thank you for posting this news.

  19. David says:

    I know rumination is a term of art in gender studies but from context this is a typo for ‘normative’, surely?

    Maria McKee is squarely in the centre of the SDE demographic, I’d have thought; and can’t understand why people need to police what Paul posts about on his own website anyway.

  20. Patrick says:

    Great songwriter with a terrific voice to0. Beyond well known tracks I only have ‘You Gotta Sin to Get Saved’ which was a great album. I should venture further.
    Not sure about the comment from Bob there. Paul’s love of music is clearly the main driving force behind this site and Maria is a great artist and very well known too.

  21. mark says:

    Great news..
    When I think of Maria Mckee I always think mad as a box of frogs.. I don’t think coming out is going to change that.
    Sin to get set saved is a truly great album and you’re right Paul, I’m gonna sooth you still makes the hairs stand up on my neck, but lets face it the backing band was the Jayhawks so it was never going to be anything but great.
    Trivia…
    Real gone kid Deacon Blue… Maria Mckee

    • Fabrice Dray says:

      Just looked up the relation between real gone kid and Maria Mckee , fun story. Thanks for pointing that out

      As much as I wished there was more rock on superdeluxeedition, I would never question Paul love of music and passion for the artists he talks about… really strange comment bob… keep up the good work paul

    • The Ragman says:

      At the time when it was a hit it was said Maria McKee was the inspiration behind Real Gone Kid but more recently Ricky Ross has said it was written for / about Lorraine… during its time in the top 40 the press broke the story that Ricky’s first marriage had ended and he was now seeing Lorraine.

  22. Aaron says:

    Lone Justice also recorded an otherwise unavailable Dylan track Go ‘Way Little Boy as a b side. The only place you can get the track. Good stuff, glad she’s back!

  23. Peter says:

    About time she released a new album. Looking forward to it!

  24. Sean O'Brien says:

    My first exposure to Maria was seeing Lone Justice open for U2 in the 80’s. I’ve followed her solo career and saw her on the High Dive tour. She has true talent as a songwriter, vocalist, and musician. One of the great characteristics of Paul’s site is bringing light to artists current work whose more familiar work may have been in the past. Paul also goes deeper, encouraging artists to share themselves with their audience, which I appreciate. I’ve seen too much damage done to individuals in the US when they are pressured to live a life not true to who they are. I commend Maria’s strength for embracing herself and allowing it to inform her art. Lessening tendencies toward discrimination and elevating inclusion for all should be a universal goal.

  25. joel ivins says:

    aside from all the gay and paul is being a mercenary stuff…this is cool and she is someone i have heard, but never picked up…i am grateful for SDE because i get exposed to new stuff and can go have a listen…thanks paul…and happy halloween

  26. Dave Sullivan says:

    Great news Paul, I wondered if we would ever hear any new music from her.

    Bob, strange comment, she is a well known artist who has released some brilliant albums. Her debut solo album from 1989 ( in my humble opinion ) is one of the best debut albums ever.

    She also wrote ‘ A good heart ‘ which was a hit for Fergal Sharkey after her break up with Benmont Tench, who apparently responded by writing ‘ You little thief ‘ , also a hit for Fergal Sharkey…..my wee bit of trivia

  27. Steven Roberts says:

    Love Maria. I’m in for the vinyl. Maybe the CD book as well, if I’m feeling flush.

    Hopefully she’ll feel sufficiently encouraged to re-release her other albums on vinyl at some stage as well.

    Will there be any signed copies, Paul?

  28. Nick Love says:

    Great! I was just listening to Late December and telling my wife how after 12 years I had assumed she was as good as retired. This is wonderful news as she has released classic after classic going back to the late 80’s.

  29. Andrew Greenwood says:

    17th November gig in East London. Looking forward to that as well as new CD. Hopefully not 13 years until the next one!!

  30. Peter says:

    Getting fed up with this I’ve a new album out and I’m gay.is the music good or crap is all that matters . Keep your sex life to yourself

    • Stuart Ansell says:

      For those of us keeping record, and at this point it’s almost certainly just you – how many artists EXACTLY are you speaking of, who in your own words have used “I’ve a new album out and I’m gay” as some kind of marketing tool?

      We’re all waiting…..

      • John McCann says:

        Well Frank oceans wrote a open letter to tell people he was gay, before the release of channel orange,,good luck to the boy,you are wot you are.

    • Derek says:

      Yikes, sir !
      Not sure her sexual orientation matters to you therefore, your comment didn’t need to be said.
      More importantly, if her recent coming out has informed her music then it DOES matter.

    • joel ivins says:

      being able to publicly be who you are is the most freeing thing…of course if you have never been discriminated against or threatened, i can see how you would be clueless

    • Jon says:

      Peter you have no place telling others what they can and cannot talk about. Perhaps it is you with the problem not Marie. If she wants to talk about coming out that her right.

  31. Mark says:

    “Hetero ruminative”? I’m all for personal liberation and self-actualisation, but I do wish it wasn’t occasionally accompanied by such baffling jargon.

    Good to have her back, though.

    • joel ivins says:

      never too late to learn a new word…or just learn period…once we stop learning, might as well chuck it all in and call the undertaker

  32. Bob says:

    Would you have given this time/space had it not been in your/Rough Trade shop?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Yes, because I’m a big fan of Maria McKee. Thanks for questioning my motives.. lovely.

    • Arcweld says:

      Seriously bob? Have you not been coming to this site before? Paul’s work is open and honest in his opinion. Most of what he covers and says I like, some I don’t. But I don’t come here to be told only about things I like. Equally if I didn’t like Maria McKee I would not buy the record not look for some conspiracy that does not exist. Like the review, don’t like the review, like the site, don’t like the site. If you dont believe in the motives or the author don’t come back, it’s ok to not like and agree with something…..just don’t create trouble where it really does not exist.

      • John McCann says:

        Thats right if Paul was just want to sell things ,then why would he bother posting all the links to Amazon and such like,most of the other sites are cheaper than s.d.e.,you have the option to pay a couple of £££, more as you would if you went to a Indy record shop by buying from,s.d.e ,but their is no hard sell,keeps the site free of advertising,and lets Paul make a living as he must put about 18 hours a day into this, just moderating the300+comments a day must take ages.

    • Andrew Richards says:

      Would it matter either way? SDE is ad-free and updated regularly and so obviously involves time, effort and some expense to keep going.

      I read SDE regularly, and have been buying Maria McKee albums since Lone Justice split. I think Paul’s hitting my particular demographic! (If you’re being a bit sniffy about something like “Show Me Heaven” then it’s not really representative of MM in much the same way, I think, that “My Baby Just Cares For Me” isn’t really Nina Simone’s high-point.)

      Otherwise, I have zero interest in artists like Pink Floyd but manage to get by not reading about their re-issues and continuing with my day.

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