Not many bands survive the music biz for 25 years.
Furthermore, there aren’t many country bands or artists that got their start in the late ’80s or early ’90s that are still releasing new music, much less getting rave reviews for it.
The Mavericks are a rare exception to that. They’ve always had a vintage sound that their many longtime fans will attest to.
Perhaps their longevity is due to the fact their music is the result of a broad mix of influences that regularly come out in their songs.
The Mavericks have created a Molotov cocktail of sound so to speak by using the following recipe: take some Hank Williams, George Jones, Dwight Yoakam, the Bellamy Brothers and Marty Stuart, then add a pinch of KC & the Sunshine Band and a spicy dash of Tex-Mex and voila! You have a sound that only The Mavericks can produce!
Sure they were traditionally labelled as a country music band when they first started out, but that was the easiest way to break in to the music biz and turned out to be the right decision as that’s the format where most of their songs have charted.
According to founding member and lead singer Raul Malo, the band is an amalgam of musical tastes.
"We’ve been labelled as a country music group but we view ourselves as a rock ’n’ roll band with country music influences. Actually, it goes way deeper than that. We have all kinds of influences that run through our music. All of us bring something different to the band. Certainly, we’ve evolved a good bit over 25 years, but our core is a good old rock ’n’ roll with a twist."
Another vital part that plays a part in how their unique sound came to be was the fact that before they eventually moved to Nashville they were originally based in Miami, Fla.
The 48-year-old Malo credits his hometown for helping mould him as a singer and musician.
"Miami is an international city. It has a very unique and diverse musical culture. I was fortunate to have grown up during a time when the city was just finding its legs and experimenting with new music. When people think of Miami, they think of KC & the Sunshine Band, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, but there is so much more to the city than that."
Like most musicians, Malo says he started out just trying to survive while doing what he loved, "we were just trying to make a living, all struggling musicians trying to make a dent in the bigger Miami scene. I’d see (bassist) Robert Reynolds out and I liked what he was doing. The great thing about Robert is we could talk about Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. We were and still are like-minded souls. We share similar stories and appreciation for music. That’s kind of how the band came together. We all had a similar mindset."
After signing to MCA in 1991, the band managed to produce a string of songs that were well received by country radio. Those who listened to 1150 KIX in the early ’90s will remember "What A Crying Shame" and "Oh, What A Thrill" as well as the lesser played, "There Goes My Heart" and "I Should’ve Been True."
In 1995, their album "Music For All Occasions" brought them more notoriety.
"Here Comes the Rain" garnered the band a Grammy award for best country performance by duo or group. A second single off the release, "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down," peaked at No. 13, their highest position in the U.S.
With their success continuing to grow, The Mavericks toured non-stop, making the occasional trek to Great Britain. Their 1998 album "Trampoline" produced a No. 4 U.K. hit in "Dance the Night Away," with "I’ve Got This Feeling" and "Someone Should Tell Her" also making the U.K. charts.
The British welcome was a nice added bonus for the band and they began making regular trips to the UK although Malo explains it was still a situation where baby steps were required.
"We’d play smaller clubs and then we’d have to play larger venues to accommodate more fans. We didn’t try to figure it out — maybe we came along at the right time. We just love playing our music for fans, so it didn’t matter if it was in England or back home."
After 15 years, including a couple of member changes, the band decided to take an extended hiatus in 2004. Malo says it was just a matter of taking a pause before burnout set in.
"We really had been going full force, recording and touring. We needed a longer break. Everyone had things they wanted to do, so we just put the brakes on." Malo used his time to release a half-dozen solo projects. "I’m a singer-songwriter and there were things I wanted to say."
Fast forward to 2013 and The Mavericks release of their critically acclaimed "In Time" album.
Not only does some of the new music show the guys branching out, but getting their songs out to the masses differently as well. The music industry has become such a different animal since The Mavericks went on hiatus 10 years ago.
The current state of "new country" radio has become what I consider to be more of a pop music machine that mainly spews out the new Top 40 from the artists of the day, thus making it difficult for older artists to fit in.
Therefore bands like The Mavericks have had to go a different route to get their songs heard. Some of their songs were most recently featured in the movie "Grudge Match" and on ABC’s new TV drama "Killer Women."
Their music is still categorized as upbeat country with just enough Tex-Mex to give it a kick and keep it interesting!
However it’s classified, their music still does it for a lot of people and to punctuate that fact, the band was recently hailed by the Village Voice and scored them a slot on The Sun Chain’s Top Albums of 2013 list.
All these new accolades transfer well into the energy of their current live shows, which Malo says are better than ever.
"It’s definitely more fun than ever before. We play well together. That comes across on stage, and that’s fun for audience and fun for us. We’re five guys with different backgrounds that mesh together well on stage."
Raul promises every show has an organic essence about it and crowds will be treated to something different with each concert they do.
"We keep it varied. No two shows are alike. Mixing it up and shooting from the hip has become part of who The Mavericks are. That raw energy I think has been our trademark."
Whether you’re a diehard classic country fan or a new country fan, you might want to catch The Mavericks next Tuesday night when they play the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium. You’re bound to enjoy the show.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 p.m., seating starting at 7 p.m.
For tickets or information visit their box office, check out the website wmca.ca or call 204-728-9510.
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