|The Mavericks - The Mavericks|
Reviewed by Matt Bjorke
The Mavericks formed in the early 1990s and were almost immediately signed to a recording contract with MCA Nashville. From 1994 through 1999 the band enjoyed a good bit of success, which included CMA and ACM awards, but they broke up after their 1999 Super Colossal Smash Hits of the 90's The Best of The Mavericks. Each member went on to do other projects with lead vocalist Raul Malo recording with Los Super Seven and the critically acclaimed solo album Today. The band wasn't even thinking of recording together until Raul wrote with Los Super Seven member Rick Trevino for his newest CD, In My Dreams. Raul was writing so much for that CD that he started to sense a theme which lead to the Mavericks getting back together. They signed with Sanctuary Records out of New York City (and London for Europe).
All but one principle member of the Mavericks has returned for the resurgence of the group. Guitarist Nick Kane was replaced by Eddie Perez. The changing of guitarists doesn't come as a shock to anyone who has studied music history. Sawyer Brown has replaced guitarists and many rock bands do it. Heck, even Kane was the second Mavericks guitarist, having arrived after the recording of 1994's "What A Crying Shame."
For their second album to be titled The Mavericks, (Their first album from 1990 was as well), the group has rounded up eleven songs that will remind fans more of their mid 1990's albums than 1992's From Hell To Paradise or 1998's Trampoline. "I Wanna Know" opens up the CD and finds the band asking tons of questions about why we do the things that we do and why things are there: "I wanna know what promises to keep, I wanna know how guilty people sleep, I wanna know if willows really weep, I wanna know where's my reward to reap." It's a song that should be a huge it on some radio chart, hopefully country for it is such a great song.
Fans of Rick Trevino will recognize "In My Dreams" as his title track and single. Raul Malo co-wrote it with Rick and sonically it's not much different than Rick's own version. I do prefer this one a bit more because the haunting lyric and melody suit Raul's soaring Roy Orbison-like voice better.
"Shine A Light" is a Latin-tinged track with a catchy chorus and melody. it's a song that finds a man coming around to the ways of peace and harmony through faith and asks why some people care while others don't care about the things around them.
"Would You Believe" is a five minute pop opus. It's is as sugary sweet as anything the band has ever done and it has a Beatles-like melody and subject matter. The song is so fun that the lyrics are almost second nature to the melody. Here's a sample of the chorus; "Would you believe, it started sixteen billion years ago, it's hard to conceive, we lose it all, then where would we all go, find another place, where they don't know the human race, you know the universe goes on and on." if you dig a bit deeper into the song you realize that Malo is discussing our human way of destruction and how many believe there is no such thing as global warming.
It seems these days that a country record isn't complete without an appearance by Willie Nelson and this record is no different. "Time Goes By" came about organically, Willie was recording in the same studio at the time, and it sounds like that. Its roots, gritty and perhaps one of the band's best performances ever. This song is so good it could end up being a Grammy nominated song.
Fans of The Mavericks' past songs like "O What A Thrill" will surely love the traditional country sound of "San Jose." written in tribute to a hotel in Austin, TX, the song wasn't written there but Raul did write "Wondering" a sleepy traditional styled ballad that sounds like it belongs on a lost Roy Orbison record, with Dale Watson there.
Closing out the record is a cover of the Hollies hit "Air That I Breathe." Like "Time Goes By," the Mavericks came about this song organically. The band was "goofing around" when they recorded this song but the co-producer, guitarist Kenny Greenberg (Allison Moorer), insisted it be included on the CD.
The Mavericks may have been gone from the scene for five years but their first album for Sanctuary Records is a confident and satisfying album. I have most of the band's albums and am thoroughly happy that I was lucky enough to get to review this album for it has instantly become my favorite album of the year 2003.
- I Wanna Know
- In My Dreams
- Shine A Light
- By The Time
- Would You Believe
- A Little To Lonely
- Time Goes By (A Duet With Willie Nelson)
- San Jose
- Because Of You
- Air That I Breathe
Album cover used with permission of Sanctuary Records.
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