David Thigpen
June 25, 1993 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Maria McKee’s crystal pipes can be bluesy, countrified, or hard, yet always soulful. On her second solo disc, the neither-fish-nor-fowl songs she chooses strand her between genres. But when she plants herself firmly, as on the country cut ”I Can’t Make It Alone,” she gets the traction she needs and soars up, up, and away.

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