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The Mavericks at the Royal Oak, 5 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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More than Fifteen years ago, the Mavericks returned to active duty after a seven-year hiatus.

During that time the group. founded in Miami and now based in Nashville, has doubled down on the country, well, maverick status it earned during the 90s with four critically lauded albums -- including last year’s “Brand New Day” -- and a tireless touring schedule. The troupe was named Best Duo or Group of the Year at the 2015 Americana Music Association Honors & Awards, and for “Brand New Day” it’s started its down label, Mondo Mundo Recordings.

• Frontman Raul Malo, who co-produced “Brand New Day,” says that despite the temporary split he views the Mavericks’ career more as a 26-year continuum. “It’s pretty amazing that we’ve been at it as long as we have and are still enjoying every bit of it,” Malo, 52, says by phone from his home in Nashville. “And the fans, they’re loving the new material. They crave it. So there’s not a lot to complain about. There’s certainly things to improve but it’s pretty remarkable that at this stage in our lives, in our careers we can have this kind of success that’s a little bit outside of the system and outside the norm, but it treats us well.”

• Part of that success, Malo adds, is the band members’ relationships, which he says are better than they’ve ever been. “I think now we know each other about as well as anybody can know anybody,” explains the singer, who’s also recorded six solo albums. “I think what we’ve learned is that when you treat yourselves to a decent hotel or make your life a little more comfortable or make your touring schedule a little more comfortable, it helps. As we’ve gotten older we’ve learned to stop and smell the flowers sometimes and not be on that perpetual hamster wheel.”

• The creative mission behind “Brand New Day,” according to Malo, falls in line with the approach the Mavericks have taken throughout their career. “I think the goal, at least for me, is always to write as many good songs as you can so you can make an album,” he says. “There’s no rhyme or reason or underlying theme to the music or anything like that; You go with what inspires you and you write what you’re feeling and what’s moving you and what you’ve got to say and hopefully you put enough songs together that it makes sense in the end.”

• “Brand New Day” did, however, introduce a slightly different method to writing and recording. “Instead of just going, ‘OK, well, we’ve got a deadline for this album and I’ve got to write 10 songs in the month of March to record in May, we just, as songs were written throughout the year, would book studio time and go in and record two songs here, two songs there,” Malo recalls. “That was really fun to do, and we ended up recording in different places -- a couple of tracks in San Antonio, a couple of tracks in Los Angeles. And lo and behold after a few months of doing that, you had a record. It was relatively easy and honest and low pressure, ‘cause we weren’t under the gun to write an entire album in a week. And that gives you the chance to make the best record you can.”

• “Brand New Day” won’t be the only thing we hear from the Mavericks this year. The group has recorded a holiday single called “Christmas Time is Coming ‘Round Again,” which will be out this fall. And it’s working on a full holiday album as well as a Spanish language album it plans to start recording soon for a 2018 release. “It’s going to be a beautiful record,” Malo says about the latter. “We don’t have a clear picture of what it’s gonna be like, which is how it is with everything when we start it. It always happens that way, and I never worry about where we end up because the trick is to get it started and that leads to a whole bunch of other things. So hopefully that’s what we’ll do this time, too, and we’ll see what we can scare out of the trees.”

If You Go: The Mavericks make up their postponed September show on Sunday, April 29, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 day of show and $65 reserved. Original tickets will be honored. Call 248-399-2980 or visit royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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