Raul Malo- a brief conversation


photo ©Kristin Barlowe

photo ©Kristin Barlowe

Throughout the 1990’s, the Mavericks released 6 albums that produced 14 chart singles on the Billboard country charts. After disbanding in 2003, lead singer and principle songwriter, Raul Malo began a solo career releasing two albums which contained interpretations of the music of Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and others. In March of this year he released his first collection of original material in 7 years, Lucky One. Featuring songs drenched in melody, this cd highlights the songwriting skill and incredible voice of the Miami native.

CH: Hello Raul. I have to mention this before we get started. I had your new cd playing at dinner last night, and my seven-year old daughter looked at me when “Moonlight Kiss” came on and said, “Daddy, I have to get up and dance.” So it looks like your new cd is a success already!

RM: Fantastic! That is great.

CH: Lucky One, is packed full of melody and hooks, and it is definitely a singers’ album. It really showcases your voice…

RM: Thanks for saying that. I certainly write for my voice, so I gravitate towards melodies. It is probably why I like the music of bygone eras so much, because there was such an emphasis on melody. And now that I don’t have to be genre-specific, I can kind of do whatever I want, and not have to be conscious of having it fit within someone’s parameters. When we were picking the songs for this record, it almost didn’t matter what style they were. We just went for what sounded the best to us. Sometimes you are not so prolific, but I happened to have a lot of songs, because the last three albums were cover albums. But I think you are right, they are probably the strongest songs melodically that I have had in a long time. And part of that is because we were able to really weed through a lot of material.

CH: I notice on this album that you are playing all the guitars. This has not been the case in the past… I did not realize your prowess on the guitar… Are you playing all the guitars on your tour?

RM: HA HA. I didn’t realize my prowess on the guitar either. Ha. I enjoy playing guitar, I really do and as I was making the demos for this record, Steve Berlin (producer), kept asking me “who is playing the guitars?” I kept telling him, “That is me, I am not lying.” Haha . And he liked it. That made me hear it in a different way, because I have always had guitar players come in and play. Steve likes to leave some room in the production and my playing fit. It was more …playing parts. I am not one of those blazing guitar players. Yes, I am playing the guitars, along with our sax player, who also plays some rhythm acoustic. But I am doing all the heavy lifting.

CH: A highlight on the album, for me, is “Moonlight Kiss”, which, with its gang backing vocals, really bring back the bygone era you mentioned before.

RM: I think a lot of what is missing from music today, is a sense of humor. We kind of forget that our job is to entertain. And I mean “we”, as artists forget that our prime directive should be to entertain. I think if we remember to do that, we are doing our gig. I think that song embodies that attitude, it’s kind of playful and silly, there is not a heavy meaning there, it is just fun…It made your seven year-old daughter get up and dance!

CH: It made her announce she was going to dance- she was called to action by your song!

RM: That is it- prime directive achieved.

Raul Malo is bringing this prime directive- and big voice to the Cat’s Cradle on Tuesday April 21, mixing classic Maverick’s material with songs from his three solo albums. His new cd, Lucky One, is in stores now.


About stratoclay
father, husband, musician, employee, writer... in that order

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