vocalist for the Mavericks, Raul Malo’s powerful voice and the band’s success in mixing vintage material with originals arranged in ˝classic˝ styles helped revive eclecticism in Nashville.
Here, he and a first-rate band of acoustic sidemen run through country, pop, and folk standards, most (not all) well-known.
Mixing Bob Dylan (˝You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go˝) and Gordon Lightfoot (˝Early Morning Rain˝) with Jimmie Rodgers (˝Waiting for a Train˝) and the Louvin Brothers (˝The Great Atomic Power˝) is quintessential Malo.
Having long ago channeled Roy Orbison’s vocal dynamics, it’s a given that he soars on ˝Blue Bayou˝ and the Henry Mancini-Johnny Mercer pop standard ˝Moon River.˝ He and the musicians rework Van Morrison’s ˝Bright Side of the Road˝ into a powerful gospel-style rave-up.
Good as those three numbers are, the players don’t sustain that same level throughout.
These supremely gifted pickers, all respected instrumentalists, play it safe with solos and arrangements.
Even Malo himself seems uncharacteristically low-keyed.
The music is certainly pleasant, but given such a stellar blend of talent, it’s also disappointingly predictable.