In this day and age of technical advancement, the Mavericks are proud to announce they are going Mono. But it’s not what you think: It’s just the title of the CMA Award-winning band’s second album for the Valory Music Co., released Tuesday (Feb. 17).
After almost a decade apart, the band reunited for 2013’s Time and an accompanying tour. The band’s drummer, Paul Deakin, told Billboard that though they were unsure of what to expect from their reunion, things definitely worked out.
“We didn’t know what to expect. We hadn’t played together in so many years, and from note one on the first day of recording — whatever that magic or factor that is inexplicable, it came back, and that fueled us and gave us our confidence to start touring. Then, as we went along, the live shows got better and better, and the audiences have come in bigger numbers. That feels great, because whatever it was that we had in the old days, we can still feel that. It’s a unique situation to be in.”
Lead singer Raul Malo said the artistic process behind Mono was one day at a time. “The album came together as we were doing it. You really don’t know until you start it. We had a group of songs and they sounded OK, but we had never played them together. We jammed on a couple of things live, but you don’t know what is going to happen until you start. As we got into the process of listening to music, mapping out your arrangements, and working out what everybody’s going to do, that’s how it came together. We just kind of built a little bit more every day until we were done.”
Deakin said the band owes a great debt of gratitude to label chief Scott Borchetta, whom he says is the perfect executive with the band, having worked with them during their 1990s run on MCA Nashville.
“There’s really no other place for a band like the Mavericks. Scott has had the benefit of knowing the band for 20-plus years. From our point of view, for him to have the kindness and the faith to say, ‘Go in the studio, and do what you do, I’ll hear it when it’s done, whatever you guys want to put out, I’ll put out’ — that’s a feeling you can’t beat.”
Lead guitarist Eddie Perez recently got a first-hand taste of that label support. “We recently were fortunate enough to go down to Mexico at Scott’s request and play for the staff. The one thing I remember that I did take away from it was how much of a team effort it is and how hard they work for all of their artists. It’s been nice, because we got to connect with a lot of these people that were nameless and faceless to us because we spend so much time out on the road. Much to Scott’s credit, the tone is usually set by the person who is at the top. I think he has taken a considerable amount of effort to make sure that environment occurs so his team can win. We certainly feel blessed to be a part of it, not only from his friendship point of view, but also from the business side. That’s something you don’t get a lot of these days.”
Mono contains some of the band’s most personal and effective writing to date — with Malo having a hand in co-writing each of the album’s cuts. One track that will definitely strike a chord with fellow musicians is “Pardon Me,” which Malo called “an honest representation of anyone who travels for a living or in this life. It’s not that you’re complaining about the life you’re leading, but it’s this night out and everyone is partying, and they want you to but you’re tired and you just want to go to bed. That’s good enough for you tonight. It’s a sentiment that is legit and honest. We hear so many times about how lucky we are to do what we do — and we are. We are very fortunate to have the lives that we have. It does get to you every once in a while. There are nights where you just want to call it a night. That doesn’t always agree with the public persona or image of being the life of the party. That song is an honest take on one facet of our lives and how we feel.”
But the band is glad to be back out on the road. Their Mono tour begins Thursday in Boston, and Malo continues to be grateful for the support of their fans.
“It’s obviously a nice thing to have. But I think it’s something that you earn. It’s not the reason we make music, but it is nice to have people say nice things about you than not. We’re humbled by it, and we take it to heart, but by the same token, it’s not the only reason you do things. I think that if you come from an honest place musically, I think that comes through, and maybe why we have that support. Maybe they just like it. That’s also a possibility, but either way it’s nice to have.”