As the frontman for the Mavericks and a member of Los Super Seven, Raul Malo has applied his Orbison-like delivery to an eclectic array of material.
On this, his latest solo effort, the warbler enlists veteran producer Peter Asher to focus on romantic balladry, as string-laden arrangements surround Malo’s tremulous voice on the opening title track (a ’70s hit for songwriter J.D. Souther) and the soaring ˝Feels Like Home˝ (reprised as the closer in a duet with Martina McBride).
The song selection highlights Malo’s vocal range, as he finds the bittersweet essence in a slowed-down rendition of the Everly Brothers’ ˝So Sad,˝ a dramatic reading of the Bee Gees’ ˝Run to Me,˝ and a lilting take on Ron Sexsmith’s ˝Secret Heart.˝
He even tackles Etta James’s signature tune, ˝At Last,˝ its jazzy, smoky sophistication punctuated by a trumpet solo.
The cover of Willie Nelson’s ˝Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground˝ provides the album’s main link to country, but even here the bedrock organ and soul choir sound closer to the church than the roadhouse.
The stellar selection provides a superb showcase for Malo’s shimmering voice.