The Mavericks

Mavericks (Sanctuary)

ACL Fest Record Reviews

The Mavericks

(Sanctuary) Mavericks singer Raul Malo has a honey-soaked vocal range that perfectly embodies the textured tastes of his country band. On their first album since 1998, the Mavericks return to said landscape with a self-titled album so textured, its eclectic influences make for a slightly congested, albeit enjoyable, ride. On pop-country radio, their work has always been adventurous, challenging. Here, their good intentions and distinct ambition occasionally make the songs just plain difficult. The bossa nova groove of "Shine Your Light" doesn't quite fit Malo's honky-tonk vocals, but "Would You Believe?" is the epitome of what this band does best: FM country songs built around classic AM pop-song arrangements. There's even a cover of the Hollies' "Air That I Breathe" to prove it. Plenty of horns, piano, and strings sprinkled about the rough 'n' tumble guitars make every song an up-tempo winner, save for the sober Tommy Dorsey sounds of "Too Lonely," and the Willie Nelson guest spot on "Time Goes By." The Mavericks obviously don't like to play by the rules, and it's that kind of bravery that reminds us why their musical ancestors were called "outlaws" in the first place. (Friday, 5pm, Cingular stage)

*** 

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