After nearly 20 years of recording mostly original music with the Mavericks and on his own, Raul Malo is turning into a cover boy.

After nearly 20 years of recording mostly original music with the Mavericks and on his own, Raul Malo is turning into a cover boy.

The artist will on July 25 release "You're Only Lonely," a Peter Asher-produced set of some of Malo's favorite songs. He's also putting the finishing touches on an album of country covers, which he plans to release in early 2007.

"It's a different game, a different mentality, a different approach," Malo tells Billboard.com of doing others' songs. "I had always written all my songs, and so therefore I could sing 'em however the hell I wanted and never really thought about it. Now, working as an interpreter of somebody else's songs, it's a difficult process but really fun. I enjoyed myself immensely just being the singer, being a vocalist and a stylist and an interpreter."

Malo finished "You're Only Lonely" more than a year ago and has been anxiously waiting to release it. The 12-song set includes the J.D. Souther title track as well as Randy Newman's "Feels Like Home" (a duet with Martina McBride), Willie Nelson's "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground," the Bee Gees' "Run to Me," Wayne Newton's "Games That Lovers Play" and Etta James' "At Last," which Malo says was the "most intimidating" cover he recorded.

The artist is a bit more circumspect about the country covers album, which was recorded at his bassist Jay Weaver's home studio in Tennessee. The songs include Buck Owens' "Crying Time," Eddy Arnold's "Welcome to My World" and Kris Kristofferson's "For the Good Times." The sound was "modeled after [Ray Charles' famed 1962 set] 'Modern Sounds in Country and Western' -- real cool and organic sounding," he says.

Malo, who left the Mavericks after 2003's "The Mavericks," is playing songs from both albums while touring with his own trio. He says that an album of original material will follow the country covers set, probably some time later in 2007.