Maureen McCormick will always be Marcia Brady to baby boomers, but don't sleep on the former child star's 1995 country album When You Get a Little Lonely (Phantom Hill Records).
Aside from an acoustic number she plays and sings at the end of the 1981 film Texas Lightning, The Brady Bunch star's American pop culture footprint had little to do with her country music fandom. Her musical output by the mid-'90s was limited to such Brady Bunch cast recordings as "Sunshine Day" and a '70s-style pop album featuring co-star Christopher Knight -- a pairing that didn't exactly shed the perma-teen image of "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!"
McCormick's country album bears the name of its best song, a line dance-friendly take on a beautiful Nicolette Larson original. From there, she adds a similar '90s country spin to songs co-written by such talents as Robert Ellis Orrall ("I'd Have to Call It Love"), Mike Reid and Troy Seals ("Some Somebody"), Gretchen Peters ("Go West") and Pam Tillis ("Might As Well Be Me"). Songwriter, singer and television theme song composer Barry Coffing brought even more credibility as the project's producer, so it's not like McCormick lacked good material or a solid support system.
As great as the title track sounds now, McCormick's crossover moment was poorly timed. As Garth Brooks and Shania Twain reset the bar for commercial success, country fans had to bemoan such gimmickry as 1996's NFL Country and other blatant cash-ins. Journalist and Dolly Parton biographer Alanna Nash summed up the presumed cynicism of the record-buying public, dismissing the sitcom star's album as "another odd float in the 'Hollywood Comes to Nashville' parade."
In the years since, McCormick has interacted off and on with the world of country music. Two years later, she starred in the television biopic Get to the Heart: the Barbara Mandrell Story. In 2007, she joined Taylor Swift, Kellie Pickler, fellow celebrity/singer William Shatner and others in the music video for Brad Paisley's "Online." She also competed with Dee Snider, Bobby Brown, Carnie Wilson and others in 2008 on CMT's Gone Country reality show. While it's not as well-known as the Los Angeles native's appearances on Dancing With the Stars or Celebrity Fit Club, the John Rich-hosted singing competition--won by ideal Lukas Nelson duet partner Julio Iglesias Jr.--created an opportunity for a longtime country fan to work as a red carpet correspondent before the 2008 CMT Music Awards.
Going back to her country album, it's not going to force anyone to reassess their list of favorite decade-specific country singers--even if its title track deserved way more credit in its time.
This story originally ran on Sept. 5, 2018.
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