The music scene

The Mavericks’ reunion comes just ‘In Time’


For singer and songwriter Raul Malo, the return of The Mavericks was crystallized during the sessions for an eight-minute song that closes the made-in-Miami country-pop band’s first album in a decade.

Call Me When You Get to Heaven, a track from the new In Time (out Feb. 26), surges and builds and repeats its catch-phrase so effectively it almost feels like a distant cousin of Stevie Wonder’s rhythmic Another Star, an eight-minute song the R&B master used to close his 1976 opus Songs in the Key of Life.

Malo, 47, sprung the composition on his band mates during sessions for In Time in Nashville last year. “It’s one of those I had it in my head how I wanted it to come out. I wanted the tension,” he said in a telephone interview. “I didn’t tell the band we’d build to this Ravel Bolero sort of thing. We recorded it all live. The only overdub was the backing singers, and the whole track is performance. That’s when I felt the band I knew was going to be really tight and play as a band.”

The Mavericks emerged from the club scene in Miami in 1989 as a sort of novelty — a country band fronted by a Miami-born Cuban-American who sang with the purity and rich command of a young Roy Orbison. Within two years the group, fronted by Malo and which included pals Robert Reynolds on bass and Paul Deakin on drums, signed to MCA nationally. For awhile, the Mavericks’ musical gumbo of country, Tex Mex and pop on such albums as What a Crying Shame and Music for All Occasions led to a handful of Top 40 country hits and a 1996 Grammy as Best Country Duo or Group. But mainstream country radio, which likes its acts musically homogenized like Tim McGraw and Keith Urban, soon didn’t know what to make of the Mavericks’ sound.

Malo put out six solo albums and collaborated on a song with Neil Diamond for the Brooklyn icon’s Tennessee Moon album in 1996 , a pairing that still has the one-time Peaches music store clerk enthralled.

“I’ve met and gotten to work with a lot of great people, but when you meet Neil Diamond, you know you’re meeting Neil Diamond. A few years after that I was making my Today record, and we were in L.A., and I was with my Cuban band, and these guys are some of the top musicians. They played with everybody, and they are less than impressed with anything. When Neil walked into the studio to say hello those guys were so impressed,” Malo says, laughing at the memory.

Soon after, The Mavericks broke up after the release of an album in 2003 went unnoticed. “Everybody was so burnt out toward the end, and I think it just started to feel like we were phoning it in,” Malo says.

But old memories can be potent. “Toward the end of my last solo record I felt myself going, ‘I wish the Mavericks were doing this song’ because, man, this sounds like a Mavericks cut.”

In Time is everything the Mavericks did well with its crazy quilt of influences from pop crooner Dean Martin to country traditionalist Ray Price, from tangos and polkas to the Ravel Bolero nod, but with renewed energy. Growing up in multicultural Miami accounts greatly for the Maverick’s old-fashioned style, which In Time embodies and amplifies.

“I have this forever-etched vision in my head of the Fontainebleau in the ’60s and what that would have been like. I didn’t quite get to experience it, a born too late sort of thing, but I was thisclose to it, and I think that sort of vibe and sense of it resonated with me as a young man and that was the music I gravitated to — the cars, the suits, the look,” Malo says.

The five Mavericks plan to continue touring after an appearance at Austin’s South by Southwest in March. “We’re having a ball doing it, and fans are loving it, and that makes it all worthwhile.”


Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • Celebrity roundup

    Rob Kardashian in treatment

    Rob Kardashian has bigger issues than trying to lose weight. According to Star, the reality brother, 27, is being treated for depression at The Meadows trauma and addiction treatment center in Arizona. Poisons of choice are apparently marijuana, alcohol and prescription cough syrup.

  • At the movies

    British comedian Nick Frost channels a salsa dancer in ‘Cuban Fury’

    Nick Frost may be pasty, portly and, well, British but, man can he dance. It took practice, though. In Cuban Fury, out Friday, Frost plays Bruce, an office drone who re-energizes the salsa moves he learned as a kid to impress his love interest/boss Julia played by Rashida Jones.

  • Scene in the Tropics

    ‘Games of Thrones’ stars Gwendoline Christie and Pedro Pascal seen eating at Bâoli

    Game of Thrones stars Gwendoline Christie and Pedro Pascal were seen having dinner Friday at Bâoli, feasting on burrata, tuna tartare, sushi, filet mignon and sea bass. The meal, we’re told, was “washed down with lychee martinis and Don Julio on the rocks.”

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category