The Mavericks "Mono"

The Mavericks’ music is full of drama, energy, and romantic themes. These superb musicians defy genre, preferring to follow their muse as she leads them through an array of styles. They’re veterans with enough success under their collective belts to know that conformity is a creative dead end. The band has prioritized their unique qualities over commercial concerns. All the better for their dedicated fan base.

In Time, the band’s reunion album of 2013,sets the template for Mono. Lead singer Raul Malo continues to writes the songs with occasional input from co-writer Alan Miller, and on one occasion, fellow band member Jerry Dale McFadden. Doug Sahm’s “Nitty Gritty” is the lone cover. Malo clearly loves variety in his music and he races from one influence to another. Latin, Tex-Mex, rockabilly, country, soul, and rock play out from track to track.  There’s even a bit of lounge attitude that slips into some of his ballads, and Malo allows his inner Robert Goulet to shine. My advice is to turn off your music snob meter and enjoy the smaltz because no one today does it better.

Mono opens with “All Night Long,” a big, bombastic love anthem that finds the singer reaching the upper registers of his vocal range. The song is an offshoot of

“Dance the Night Away,” a frolicking number from the band’s best album Trampoline. That album was recorded live and incorporated lots of improvisation. Mono also uses this method; that, along with their ability to shift tempo and genreat underscores the quartet’s musicality. Guitarist Eddie Perez, drummer Paul Deakin, and  keyboardist Jerry McFadden are fabulous players, and Malo is a singular talent. He co-produces with Nico Bolas. The band is joined by the Fantastic 4 – a collective who contribute tuba, saxophone, accordion, trumpets, and tuba.

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix)