The Mavericks: Prolific genre-jumper Raul Malo may go down in music history as one of the most expansive guys on the country circuit: he effortlessly traverses from Latin jazz to Cuban pop to lounge-inspired schmaltz to boogie-down rock 'n' roll and beyond. But when he's playing catchy-as-hell twang rock with his band the Mavericks, it's easy to understand that country music is this man's forte. The Mavericks formed in Miami, Florida, in the late 1980s and made friends and fans by playing their infectious Americana foot-stompers inside of rock clubs. (Apparently, country clubs wanted country cover bands and turned the Mavericks away because they played original songs.) Their eponymous 1990 debut wasn't as strong in its songwriting as the albums that would come after it, but this first album really showed off their bona fide chemistry, which could blow the oversized hat acts off almost any Nashville stage. MCA caught wind of the Mav's buzz and signed them in 1991, giving their second LP, From Hell To Paradise, more money and production help than their first release. On this sophomore album, Malo's songwriting bore more fruit than a field of prickly pear cacti. Songs like the Sir Douglas Quintet-flavored "I Got You" and the roadhouse rocker "End Of The Line" should have climbed the charts, but they were upstaged by a drop-dead gorgeous rendition of Hank Williams' "Hey Good Lookin'" (the only single from their second album to get radio airplay). In 1994, the band released What a Crying Shame, a third-time's-the-charm album that went platinum and yielded three singles.
- Eric Shea
- Eric Shea