Maria McKee—the singer-songwriter who burst onto the music scene some 35 years ago, fronting the band Lone Justice, going on to a storied solo career—discusses her lifelong love of dogs, while noting, early on, there was an incident that so traumatized her that she steered clear of dogs (“I shut down around dogs”) for a number of years. But, McKee recalls, once she reconciled those feelings, it’s been dogs, dogs, and more dogs ever since. Indeed, at the moment, she and her husband, Jim Akin, currently share their home with three: a pug, a whippet, and a greyhound. McKee notes that over the years, she’s had a real soft spot for pugs—she mentions writing the grieving lament, “My First Night Without You,” after another, much-beloved pug of hers died many years ago (I ended up playing the song later in the show)—but given the health challenges that routinely plague these in-bred animals, she’s decided she’s unlikely to adopt another pug. That decision partly prompted McKee to adopt a greyhound, a black former racer that she renamed Enitharmon, a nod to her passion for William Blake’s work. McKee has since plunged into the greyhound world, volunteering for an adoption group, attending greyhound events, etc. She still regularly travels to the UK, and somewhat less frequently than before, to Ireland, and outlined the multiple steps involved in having Enitharmon travel with her. She enthuses about a concert she gave last January in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, as part of a festival, noting that performances may become somewhat less rare, because she’s preparing to release her first new album in a decade. McKee explains that the new material—which, musically, she describes as “orchestral pop”–is the product of looking back on various stages of her life, including the famously complicated career of Lone Justice. In addition to this sort of reflection, she observes that a key impetus and inspiration for the new music was the deeply dark, “iconic” character she portrays in “Beauty, Majesty, And Terror,” the third and latest film she and Akin have made. (http://mariamckee.org, https://www.facebook.com/maria.mckee.7)
ALSO: I spoke with Talking Animals “Greyhound Correspondent” Don Goldstein—albeit belatedly and far too briefly, owing to a telephone outage so significant that 911 systems in four counties were temporarily down; we finally connected via Skype in the final two minutes of the show—about pending legislation (House Bill 463, Senate Bill 674) that would ban the use of anabolic steroids in racing greyhounds, and about Proposed Amendment 67, which would phase out greyhound racing in Florida. It was to be heard two days later, on Feb. 2, by The Florida Constitution Revision Commission’s Executive Committee—the next step in the process.
COMEDY CORNER: Brian Regan’s “Dog Barking” (http://brianregan.com)
MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Maria McKee’s “My First Night Without You,” instrumentals
NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Joni Mitchell’s “Black Crow”
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