Tue, Nov 12, 2013.
One of the most exciting bands on the country charts in the 90's was The Mavericks, originally out of Florida. With hits such as All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down and Here Comes The Rain, for which they also earned a Grammy, they brought a different life and spirit to the radio waves, with a hybrid sound of Tex-Mex, Cuban, Mariachi, a little rock, and a lot of the classic pipes of Raul Malo, straight out of the Roy Orbison tradition.
The band parted in 2004, with Malo heading solo, and the rest scattered, even retired from music. It seemed the group's day was past, but a surprise reunion in 2012 proved there were still lots of fans hoping their was still life in the group. This past spring, the promise was fulfilled with a brand-new album, In Time, and The Mavericks have kept going, with a long tour that sees them on Canada's East Coast for the first time this week.
Guitar player Robert Reynolds is a founding member of the group, and was wandering around down town St. John's for the first time in his life when he connected by cell phone. He confirms the reunion is working out great. "It is,", says Reynolds. "We took the time away because we'd always promised we wouldn't force it if it wasn't working. Eight years passed, which almost feels like a lifetime in music terms. I was concerned if we'd feel like we still belonged to the Mavericks spirit, and lo and behold it is holding."
The key for all the band members, Reynolds says, was that it be a complete return to the group, for all to be fully committed. "Instead of doing a reunion tour or doing the oldies circuit, we wanted to make sure it was complete, with new music. It was a return with purpose. I don't want to sound too important, but the music ought to matter if you're going to do it. There wasn't any exciting money offered, or there wasn't a tour with oldies bands from the 90's, we wanted to do this for ourselves."
Front man Malo was the instigator, as he was the one with a solo career, and six album to his own name since the break-up. "Raul was quite generous with this, he wanted us to feel connected as a group of people, friends, and Mavericks if you will. But Raul made it clear we weren't just using the name. You get a little brand like that and before you know it some guy gets control of it and is out touring the world. So when we get back together, it was about putting the Maverick touch on the songs."
That is there for sure, with all the different elements the band has become known for part of the In Time sound. If anything, it's more Maverick than ever, with the melting pot overflowing, from dreamy 50's-sounding ballads to full-on Tex-Mex organ and horn workouts. Reynolds explains it's because the group no longer has to compete for hit records. "The thing we were saddled with in the 90's that we're no longer burdened with was that we were trying to fit into country radio. But now we're not bound to the whims of radio. We're thankful if they do play them, but we don't make records for the radio any more. Now that freedom that you hear in our music is wide-open. It's our sound, our vision, and we've cultivated a fan base that expects something a little different from us."
Fans get their chance in New Brunswick on Friday night, Nov. 15, as The Mavericks take the stage at Fredericton's Playhouse.
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).