Kentucky concert: The Mavericks play Lexington Opera House

0 0

The Mavericks, from left to right, Eddie Perez, Jerry Dale McFadden, Raul Malo and Paul Deakin, will play the Lexington Opera House on Jan. 28, 2023.

The Mavericks, from left to right, Eddie Perez, Jerry Dale McFadden, Raul Malo and Paul Deakin, will play the Lexington Opera House on Jan. 28, 2023.

The Mavericks are used to being called a country band. After all, when their records began to surface at the dawn of the 1990s, it was country radio that gave them a voice.

Then other sounds started slipping in – a taste of Tex Mex organ, a blast of Cuban-flavored brass, percussive grooves that shifted from an island breeze to a tropical block party. Topping it all: the vocals of a Florida singer with pipes worthy of Roy Orbison.

With every year, with every album, even through a working tenure interrupted by two breakups, the band’s sound grew – not just in popularity, but in sheer sonic intensity and spirit. Now, check out the cover of “La Sitiera,” a twang-and-strings update of a song covered through the decades by such esteemed Cuban singers as Omara Portuondo and Barbarito Diez that leads off the most recent Mavericks record, “The Mavericks en Espanol,”

The Mavericks? A country band? Better get out the road maps to determine what country you’re talking about.

“I believe the first thing we are, above everything, are fans,” said Mavericks guitarist Eddie Perez. “We all grew up learning music from what’s come before. In my particular case, I was exposed to all kinds of music at a very young age. My father loved music – all kinds of music, from country music to blues to ’50s rock ‘n’ roll to pop music and everything in between. I think the reason all of us play in this band together is because we all developed that sort of musical vocabulary growing up.

“So when they say ‘The Mavericks are a country band,’ I say, ‘Yes, we are. Sometimes.’ Okay. ‘The Mavericks are a Latin band?’ I say, ‘Yeah. We can be.’ Okay. ‘The Mavericks rock.’ I say, ‘We certainly do.’

“Also, when you take a look at the music today, there is such a cross-pollination between styles that music doesn’t really go by any genres anymore, even though we have to put it in genres to be able to market it. But by this point, The Mavericks have been very explorative. The genre monikers really don’t apply anymore. When people ask me, ‘What kind of music do you make? How do you classify yourselves?’ I say, ‘Well, I think we make joyous music.’”

Touring with Dwight Yoakam

Perez’ own musical assimilation has taken him to the employment of several country-reared artists, including one eminent Kentuckian. He was initially brought on board The Mavericks by frontman, co-guitarist and seemingly atomic-powered vocalist Raul Malo as the band was regathering following a three-year split. An album was cut, touring ensued, then, after two years, it imploded again.

Enter a country classicist with his own vision, style and swagger searching out a guitar foil for hire. His name was Dwight Yoakam.

“It was a very similar mindset, but instead of the Latin background of the Mavericks, I now had Kentucky and Ohio.

“Dwight’s approach was the same in the sense in that Dwight is such a big fan of all kinds of music. He finds his space within whatever he is trying to approach. My whole time with Dwight was such a learning lesson for me. It taught me about real professionalism. He is a professional to the Nth degree. He really saw me as a stylish, flamboyant kind of guy who was a counterpart to him onstage. He supported that, but the music was always paramount. When I jumped to that gig, I approached it with the highest respect because when I first heard Dwight Yoakam’s music in the late ’80s, it completely changed my point of view. It was absolutely responsible for sending me on the trajectory I have been on ever since.

“Before that, I was really into rock ‘n’ roll, but when I heard his music, it totally flipped me out. That Telecaster and his voice and those songs? I’ll tell you one thing, of all those shows I did in the seven years I was with Dwight, not once did being onstage with him and playing those songs ever get old. It was always so exciting. It was always a lot of fun. It was a fantastic time that gave me a chance to learn another whole chapter in this business.”

Getting The Mavericks back together

By 2011, Malo was ready to reconvene the Mavericks for a second time and Perez was more than eager to re-enlist. While he loved playing for Yoakam, he also hoped another opportunity would surface to return to the band he had just started to form a kinship with before it dissolved.

“When The Mavericks went away (in 2005), I felt a little cheated out of the experience, because I was just starting to get involved in it. I always felt there would be a way for the Mavericks to get back together again. I hoped something like that would happen.

“From the time we started talking to the time we were in the studio making a record, it was a whirlwind. The first song we tried to play was called ‘Back in Your Arms Again.’ That’s the first track on the first record we did (2013’s “In Time”).’ As soon as we started playing that song in the studio, it was as if no time had gone by at all. It sounds kind of storylike, but it really felt like that to me. It was kind of a crazy omen, but with ‘Back in My Arms Again,’ it was like ‘Here we are again. Can you believe it?’ It was like we lit a match to the bonfire with that song.

“Everything after that has seemed to flow for us. We’ve been going on 11 years now with six or seven albums and two trips to the Grammys. A lot has happened and yet it seems like no time has gone by at all.”

My interview with Perez ended on a melancholy, but ultimately, celebratory note. The topic: his guitar heroes. I read him a list of the ones I perused from several other interviews he had done over the years. They were all requisite choices for a child reared on ’70s guitar-rock by a guitar-loving father. I saved the one I wanted to talk to him about until the end: Jeff Beck. The vanguard British guitarist died on Jan. 10 at the age of 78.

“Oh, God. What a giant. Jeff Beck was the guy who opened up every guitar player’s ears to what could be. What a powerful, iconic presence he had. When I look at him, though, I don’t look only at his music and how inspirational it is and all he accomplished. I also look at how he carried himself – his mystique, his whole rock ‘n’ roll bad ass-ness. For me, it’s not just the music, it’s the spirit and what you leave behind.”

The Mavericks

When: Jan 28 at 8 p.m.

Where: Lexington Opera House, 401 W. Short.

Tickets: $39.50-$75 at

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.