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Mavericks: Raul Malo coming to Cat’s Cradle on April 21

by Clay Howard

Throughout the 1990s, the Mavericks released six albums that produced 14 chart singles on the Billboard country charts.

After disbanding in 2003, lead singer and principle songwriter, Raul Malo began a solo career releasing two albums which contained interpretations of the music of Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and others. In March of this year he released his first collection of original material in seven years, Lucky One. Featuring songs drenched in melody, this CD highlights the songwriting skill and incredible voice of the Miami native.

Hello, Raul. I have to mention this before we get started. I had your new CD playing at dinner last night, and my seven-year old daughter looked at me when “MoonlightKiss” came on and said, “Daddy, I have to get up and dance.” So itlooks like your new CD is a success already!

Fantastic! That is great.

Lucky One is packed full of melody and hooks, and it is definitely a singers’ album. It really showcases your voice.

Thanks for saying that. I certainly write for myvoice, so I gravitate towards melodies. It is probably why I like themusic of bygone eras so much, because there was such an emphasis onmelody. And now that I don’t have to be genre specific, I can kind ofdo whatever I want, and not have to be conscious of having it fitwithin someone’s parameters. When we were picking the songsfor this record, it almost didn’t matter what style they were. We justwent for what sounded the best to us. Sometimes you are not soprolific, but I happened to have a lot of songs, because the last threealbums were cover albums. But I think you are right, they are probablythe strongest songs melodically that I have had in a long time. Andpart of that is because we were able to really weed through a lot ofmaterial.

Inotice on this album that you are playing all the guitars. This has notbeen the case in the past…. I did not realize your prowess on theguitar…. Are you playing all the guitars on your tour?

I didn’trealize my prowess on the guitar either. Ha. I enjoy playing guitar, Ireally do and as I was making the demos for this record, Steve Berlin(producer), kept asking me: “Who is playing the guitars?” I kepttelling him: “That is me, I am not lying.” Ha ha. And he liked it. Thatmade me hear it in a different way, because I have always had guitarplayers come in and play. Steve likes to leave some room in theproduction and my playing fit. It was more… playing parts. I am not oneof those blazing guitar players. Yes, I am playing the guitars, alongwith our sax player, who also plays some rhythm acoustic. But I amdoing all the heavy lifting.

A highlight on thealbum, for me, is “Moonlight Kiss”, which, with its gang backingvocals, really bring back the bygone era you mentioned before. Ithink a lot of what is missing from music today, is a sense of humor.We kind of forget that our job is to entertain. And I mean “we”, asartists forget that our prime directive should be to entertain. I thinkif we remember to do that, we are doing our gig. I think that songembodies that attitude, it’s kind of playful and silly, there is not aheavy meaning there, it is just fun…. It made your seven-year-olddaughter get up and dance!

It made her announce she was going to dance. She was called to action by your song!

That is it: Prime directive achieved. RaulMalo is bringing this prime directiveand big voice to the Cat’s Cradleon April 21, mixing classic Mavericks material with songs from histhree solo albums. His new CD, Lucky One, is in stores now.

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