Tag Archives: michael guerra

DC Reviews: The Mavericks – En Español

For tried and true fans of The Mavericks, En Español has been a long-awaited work. Since their founding, The Mavericks have offered up some Spanish tunes belted out by their leader, Raul Malo, at their performances. More than a few times, fans have asked them when a Spanish-language album would be released. Well, it’s here and it doesn’t disappoint.

Their live playlist is so diverse that they are considered multi-genre (and Americana) with performances sprinkled with country, tex-mex, cuban, rock, jazz, and other rhythms, which says a lot about their collective musicianship. Whether it’s the dueling guitars of Malo and LA-born guitarist Eddie Perez, the tickled ivories of Jerry Dale McFadden, or the diverse drumming of Paul Deakin, or their sidemen, they can play anything–sometimes, at a moment’s notice.

En Español is an eclectic mix of Latin rhythms and American sounds that only The Mavericks could put together in an honest and sincere fashion. Songs of love and heartbreak abound on this collection, as well as Cuban folk and classic ones from another time.

Classic songs, such as La Sitiera, Sombras, Mujer, and Sabor A Mi are already well-known at their concerts and previous Raul Malo solo works. Yet, they’re given a new and bold flavor that fills ones ears and hearts.

The first single, Poder Vivir, a ska-ish-tinged song backed by the sweet accordion sound of Michael Guerra, has already been making the rounds on radio and various other platforms. In fact, it’s already reached the top of some Tejano music charts, which shows their ability to penetrate markets beyond their usual audience. Recuerdos features that signature Mavericks sound that has fans swaying at their concerts.

Another favorite tune is the danceable (for us Tex-Mex folk)  Julia Iglesias tune, Me Olvide de Vivir, along with the mariachiesque No Vale La Pena, made famous by Juan Gabriel and given quite the squeezebox assist by the legendary Flaco Jimenez and the trumpets of Julio Diaz and Lorenzo Molina. Another cover is a Spanish-version of Englebert Humperdink’s Man Without Love, Cuando Me Enamoro.

But it’s the haunting and heart-wrenching Pensando En Ti, backed by the requinto and the accordion, that will have one thinking about love lost and searching for a drink. Finally, they offer up some Cuban folk music with the Celia Cruz tune, Pinar del Rio, in case you haven’t danced enough.

NPR has a great article on some Mavericks history and the process of making this album, as does TejanoNation. My FB friend Hector Saldaña at the Express-News delves into it, too.

En Español is available on all platforms, but, since bands aren’t touring, drop them a few bucks and buy the album and their merch at their website.

Also, The Mavericks will be performing a live, pay-per-view concert at Nugs.tv on Saturday, August 22, featuring the new material from En Español. As I’ve always said, any Mavs performance is an experience, even from the comfort of your own couch.

DC Reviews: The Mavericks ~ Mono

monoThe Mavericks are back with their supposedly sophomore album, Mono. Why, supposedly? Well, for a band that’s been around for 25 years, they’re hardly new in this game; if anything, their return to the scene in 2012 and with the release of In Time, they basically took off from where they left off. And Mono shows just how much more creative they can get, and with the full support of their record company, The Valory Music Co.

Why Mono? Some of my fellow Mavericks fans who are non-Latino were running the online translators trying to find out what their tour title meant, Mono Mundo. The vast majority asked, “Monkey World?” Well, Mono isn’t Spanish; if anything, it’s short for monaural; or, monophonic. In other words, not in stereo, or sound reproduced through a single (one) channel. The sound is simpler, more basic, but the music is all Mavericks. It’s a risk few are willing to take, which makes this album much more exciting.

Most impressive is that The Mavericks recorded this album in a week, recorded live, and with few overdubs to sweeten the sound. Still, the various instruments that make up the Mavericks sound are captured beautifully. From the get-g0, the bilingual Latin-tinged All Night Long soars, along with Raul Malo’s vocals. And speaking of voices, the R&B tune, What Am I Supposed To Do, with its beautiful harmonies, has become a fan favorite as the Mavs tested out several of these songs at the end of 2014.

A personal favorite of mine is (Waiting) For the World to End because the lyrics are fantastic. The clash of horns and instruments, though, make it one of the more powerful tunes on the album. As Raul Malo is quite the balladeer, Fascinate Me, gives him quite the workout as he reaches for uncharacteristic highs that few can achieve. The piano and acordeón accompaniment and horns come together awesomely.

The Mavericks, as always, go in different directions while staying true to their sound. Let It Rain is a folksy tune with Michael Guerra’s acordeon clearly audible. The blues tune, The Only Question Is, gives Malo another workout that is very appreciated. The rockin’ Stories We Could Tell and What You Do To Me will keep fans dancing in front of the stage.

As a bonus track, they give us Nitty Gritty, made popular by Doug Sahm.

12 tracks–all awesome. Get yours today! As always is the case with The Mavericks, you get de todo un poco (a little bit of everything). 

The Mavericks are about to embark on their Mono Mundo Tour (that’s One World), taking them across the US and Europe. They hit Houston on April 16, and I’m hoping they give us another 2 hours and 45 minutes of awesome.