Released in 1988, Miss America is quite unlike any other album that I have ever heard. When your fans include Michael Stipe, Kirsten Hersh and Alex Chilton amongst others and your songs have been covered by the likes of The Cowboy Junkies and This Mortal Coil you kinda know that you have done something right. Yet when you mention the name of Mary Margaret O'Hara most people don't know who you are talking about.
Miss America was released to great critical acclaim in her native Canada and in Europe including Toronto's NOW magazine naming the album as the number 3 album of the last 20 years. Miss America has still not been followed up with an official second album although she did compose and record the soundtrack in 2000 to the film Apartment Hunting which many consider to be her second solo album.
Over the years she has contributed vocals to recordings by Morrissey and This Mortal Coil amongst others and has also appeared on various albums including The Songs Of Vic Chestnutt and a track on the Kurt Weill tribute September Songs.
She appears to be quite unorthodox in her approach to recording apparently refusing to record anywhere that is not within walking distance from several Catholic churches as she claims that these are her favourite places to "hang out".
Miss America was/is completely unpredictable, a veritable melting pot of country jazz and folk with all the norms of arrangement and structure thrown out the window in order to produce one of the most original and brilliant albums of the last quarter century, all held together by the pure and elegant vocals of one of the most respected artists in the music business, Mary Margaret O'Hara .
Rumours still circulate that she is recording a second album but at the time of writing we shall have to be satisfied with repeated listens of her stunning debut album.
She won't be everyone's cup of tea but it's worth making the effort as this is a singular album from a singular artist that is well worth adding to your collection.
Can be bought here .