Serving up a fresh helping of their distinctive Tex-Mex-via-Miami magic 

The Mavericks—one of the more dynamic acts on the 1990s country scene—are back with their first full-length album in nearly a decade. “We hadn’t been in the same room together in that time, much less made music together,” says frontman Raul Malo. “There was talk of a reunion tour, but that wasn’t reason enough to bring back the band. The Mavericks were such a big part of our lives that if we were going to reunite, we wanted new music to tour behind.”

The Grammy-winning band—whose lineup includes Malo, bassist Robert Reynolds, drummer Paul Deakin, keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden and guitarist Eddie Perez—took a different approach to recording the new album, In Time. “I would normally make demos to pass out to the band weeks before we went into the studio. Everybody would learn the songs, and we’d get together and emulate the tapes,” explains Malo. “This time there was no time to make demos, so I said, ‘Let’s work on a song a day.’ By the second night, we had recorded nine songs.

It was great to be in that creatively juiced environment. We recorded and mixed the whole thing in two weeks. We never would have done that in the old days.”

Nearly the entire album was recorded live, and several songs were done in one take, including “(Call Me) When You Get to Heaven,” an eight-minute track with a soulful outro featuring gospel-R&B group the McCrary Sisters. “I didn’t tell the guys what was going to happen at the end of the song,” Malo says. “I just said, ‘Keep playing,’ and we kept building intensity until we couldn’t anymore. When we were done playing it, we were done for the day. We left it all out there.”

One tune, “Come Unto Me,” was inspired by an unusual source.  “I had this melody but didn’t have the lyric. I knew it had to be over the top and had to have a certain amount of panache to it. One night I was watching King Kong, and I thought, ‘Look at old King Kong—there isn’t a tougher guy on the planet, and even he falls for the pretty girl.’ There’s a part where he fights a giant monster to keep her safe. Then he grabs her and throws her onto his shoulder, and that’s where I got ‘Come Unto Me,’” laughs Malo. “We all want to be that guy. I know that’s a romantic, cavalier notion, but that’s what the song is about—being the ultimate man to the woman. As silly as that seems, there was something really beautiful about that in the movie.”

Meanwhile, the Mavericks are enjoying their reunion. “It feels like we picked up where we left off, but came back stronger,” Malo says. “We’re back in it and having more fun than ever.”

–Juli Thanki

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