From 1992 until 2003, the Mavericks made some of the most critically hailed music in country. After the band went their separate ways, each member stayed in the business, with lead singer Raul Malo focusing his energies on a solo career, as well as producing other artists. Still, the collective force of the Mavericks is something that none of the individual members could deny, so the February 26 release of "In Time" brings the band together again.
"I would say that it was like a perfect storm scenario," Malo told Billboard about the band reuniting. "It originally started with the idea of doing a reunion tour of sorts -- going out to play festivals in the summer. That seemed like fun in and of itself, but for some reason, it wasn't enough. We thought if we're going to bring back the band, it would be nice to have a new album."
Malo said that brought about a big question. "We then thought 'Who would want this record, and who would take it?' The first people I asked was over at Big Machine. I've been friends with Allison (Jones) for years, and Scott (Borchetta) and I have talked about doing some stuff throughout the years, and it never was the right time. I thought 'Well, let's take a shot, and see if they would be interested in a record.' Lo and behold, they said yes, and that changed the whole trajectory of everything. It went from a three-month summer tour to an album, and everything that comes with that."
"In Time" is a mixture of different styles and sounds, which is a hallmark of the Mavericks, who have never been an easy act to categorize. "That's always been the hardest question for us to answer, and I have just resigned myself to calling it rock and roll," reflected Malo. "It's at least with the same spirit that early rock and roll was. They called it that because they didn't know what to call it. It was a mix of blues, gospel, jazz, and swing – all this stuff coming together. In that same spirit, is how we approach making music. To me, it comes out a little bit country, certainly. We have those influences in there, but a lot of other influences as well."
Highlights of the album include the single "Back In Your Arms Again," as well as the retro feel of "That's Not My Name," on which Malo says the band tried to tip their hat to the Patsy Cline / Jim Reeves "Nashville Sound" that was so successful due to productions from Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins. "That sound is a big part of our vocabulary and our repertoire. We cut our teeth on Patsy Cline, and all of us tried to play like Chet – we failed miserably. Those artists were part of our DNA of sorts. To me, that song is a simple homage to that era."
Making the new album was a stress-free experience, according to drummer Paul Deakin. Big Machine chief Scott Borchetta – who worked the band to radio during their MCA days – gave them the keys and let them run. "He knew what he was in for. He just set up the studio, and said 'Give me a call when it's done. Just go in and do whatever you want. Make Mavericks music.' That was a really nice license for us."
Malo agrees, saying "The last thing you want to do is explain something to the record label. If you have to explain your music, there's a problem. We knew there wouldn't be any of that. It's just the right place at the right time, and we're lucky to be in this moment."
- Country