SWAG : PRESS
Orange County Register,
21 March 2013
The Mavericks roll into California just 'In Time'
Interview with Robert Reynolds
The enduring roots group kicks off a run of shows behind first album in nearly a decade.With all the modern technology at musicians' disposal today, authenticity often falls by the wayside during the recording process. That wasn't a problem for Grammy-winning Americana band the Mavericks, who have reunited and released an excellent album, In Time (from Valory Music Co.), their first in nearly a decade.
"Not to set us apart from other talented people, but we don't have to manufacture our sound. It comes out of us," says multi-instrumentalist Robert Reynolds from a Southwest stop in Santa Fe. "When we hit the live stage, people are blown away and say: 'They sound incredible!' It's almost like they didn't expect you could. When you haven't faked your sound, it's really not voodoo or black magic; it's just performing."
Last April, those who attended Stagecoach in Indio saw first hand how the Mavericks haven't missed a step. Augmented by four other musicians, the nine-piece touring ensemble performed a vibrant evening set in the Palomino tent and ended up one of the festival's standouts.According to Reynolds, using an expanded lineup was necessary to do the new songs justice. "Anything short of that becomes less than the desired effect. Are we adaptable? Yes. Are the songs still fun in a (smaller) arrangement? Yeah. But to give folks this album in a manner that feels like the night of music we want to share? Absolutely."
Local fans finally get to experience the group's eclectic mélange of countrypolitan, Tejano, rock 'n' roll and much more at a sold-out Coach House show on Saturday, followed by dates in Solana Beach and L.A."There are places in the country where we seem to have a real symbiotic relationship, something very mutual between us and the fans. They make it easy to enjoy what we're doing. You might think a travelling musician would say that about any audience, but it's not always the case." Reynolds continues. "To be honest, Southern California... (has) become very special. We have gaping holes (around America) where we still fight hard to earn our little place. California has always been a rewarding area for us."
The early reception for 'In Time', preceded by last year's taster EP 'Suited Up and Ready', has been equally fruitful. The acclaimed collection (boasting an 86 on review aggregator site Metacritic) reached No. 8 on Billboard's country albums chart, the Mavericks' best placing in 15 years.
"I'm a founding member of this group and I've seen the peaks and valleys", notes Reynolds, 50. "We might be at an apex; the real summit here. I've had big years with this thing and I know what they look like."
The Mavericks were formed in Miami by Reynolds and drummer Paul Deakin in the late '80s. The pair recruited Cuban-American singer and guitarist Raul Malo and another six-stringer before releasing an independent CD in 1990. Major-label bow 'From Hell to Paradise' followed in '92.
Two years later, they found a wider audience via the platinum disc 'What a Crying Shame' and four Top 30 country hits, plus a fine cover of Bruce Springsteen's 'All That Heaven Will Allow'. Gold-selling 'Music for All Occasions' garnered a Grammy and spawned an even bigger track, a duet with Flaco Jimenez, 'All You Ever Do is Bring Me Down'. By decade's end, the Mavericks also had amassed a handful of major country awards.
Before the group eventually called it quits in 2004, Reynolds started SWAG with Mavericks keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden, Cheap Trick's Tom Petersson, Ken Coomer of Wilco and Doug Powell, issuing the power-pop-leaning 'Catchall' in 2001. (Additionally, Reynolds co-wrote tracks with Petersson for Cheap Trick's 1997 and 2001 efforts.) Meanwhile, Malo released six well-regarded solo albums throughout the past decade.
'In Time' was co-produced by Malo and Niko Bolas, known for work with another iconoclast, Neil Young. The guys entered the studio without doing demos. What resulted was a more spontaneous process, "...tons of shaping and arranging that could happen in the moment. Even, in some cases, letting Raul finish lyrics on the spot or overnight... the main thing was we didn't go in with preconceived notions about anything. That was highly rewarding."
Some songs were recorded live, Malo's ad-libs left intact. "To us, that is where the highest energy comes from." Reynolds says. "If someone wanted to know how the Mavericks achieve a certain truthful energy on the record, it's that we're performing not too differently than we would at night onstage."
Among several new album highlights are 'Come Unto Me', a Latin shuffle with wicked electric guitar work by fifth member Eddie Perez; some retro party rock in 'As Long as There's Loving Tonight'; lovely, sparse ballad 'Amsterdam Moon', a showcase for Malo's glorious Orbisonesque pipes; and the ebb and flow of closing epic 'Call Me When You Get to Heaven', featuring gospel's McCrary Sisters on backing vocals.
They took a jam band approach on the latter bolero, vamping to find a groove. "We wanted to be naturally transcended by the emotion of the song." Although Reynolds was involved in other music projects before the band resumed, he realized during the long break that "...playing Mavericks songs with the Mavericks is almost undefinable by any other measure." Not doing them again for an audience "while we're still able-bodied" would be crazy. "What I think being back together represents is having the knowledge that it only takes a willingness on our part to work well together. If we do that, all the music falls into place."
The Mavericks perform March 23 at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano (33157 Camino Capistrano), March 25 at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach (143 S. Cedros Ave.), March 26 at L.A.'s El Rey Theatre (5515 Wilshire Blvd.) and March 27 at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert (73000 Fred Waring Drive). The first two are sold out. Tickets for L.A. are $30, for Palm Desert, $25-$35. Seth Walker opens all dates.
George A Paul
Orange County Register
21 March 2013
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