The Mavericks, celebrating 30 years, blends Americana, rock ’n’ roll
In the annals of country music, one would be hard-pressed to find an artist or group like the Mavericks, one that has been able to embrace the legacy of the genre in such an untraditional manner. But with this outfit from Miami that’s fronted by Cuban-American vocalist/guitarist Raul Malo, the idea of nonconformity reflected in the group’s name is also something that’s going to come across clearly in the music.
It must be working, because 2019 marks three decades since the group was formed in 1989. And while there was an eight-year hiatus from 2004 to 2012, the current quartet (Malo, guitarist Eddie Perez, keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden and drummer Paul Deakin) have since bounced back to regularly tour and record.
And while Malo has always admitted to being very forward-looking with the Mavericks, the fact that 2019 represents such a milestone meant it was only right to share the celebration with the group’s fans.
The band joins the list of headliners including David Crosby, Joan Osborne, Kathy Mattea and Preservation Hall Jazz Band at this weekend’s Philadelphia Folk Festival at Old Pool Farm in Upper Salford Township, near Schwenksville.
“I’m not one to look back, I never have been,” Malo said. “But if you can’t celebrate 30 years in such a tough business as the music industry, what can you celebrate? I’m proud that we’ve made our mark and it’s good to celebrate that. I think we’ve found the perfect way to mark these 30 years without thinking only about the past and I’m really excited to get out and play these shows.”
Fans can expect plenty of surprises on this tour that includes special staging and a unique narrative drawing from the breadth of The Mavericks catalogue, ranging from the band’s early days in Miami’s alternative scene, through their chart-topping years in the 1990s and 2000s and more recent fan favorites.
The unconventionality at the heart of the Mavericks sound is no surprise, given how Malo’s childhood was one in which a broad range of variety shows
shaped the Florida native’s musical tastes.
“In Miami, what country music was I going to hear? As a kid, I couldn’t wait for
Saturday nights to turn on the television because that’s when a lot of the music shows were on. ‘Hee Haw’ was on Saturday nights, as was ‘The Lawrence Welk Show’ and later on, ‘Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert’ and ‘The Midnight Special.’ And somewhere on the weekend was ‘Soul Train.’
“I watched all of it because that’s all you had was three networks to choose from,”