Raul Malo gets lucky – September 2006
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Raul Malo gets lucky  Print

By Dan MacIntosh, September 2006

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"That's how Peter produces a record really. He just didn't get in the way of the vocals, which was an interesting way to work. I think that the vibe is definitely romantic. Open a bottle of wine, sit-down-and-listen-to kind of record."

"You're Only Lonely" is unique, in that it includes two different versions of the very same song.

"Peter thought 'Feels Like Home' would make a beautiful duet," Malo says. "And then some people thought, no, it should just be a solo version. But they loved the song. So there were two arguments going back forth, and I just said, 'Well, let's just put 'em both on the record. What does it matter?' It's certainly not the first time that's it's been done."

"I referenced an Andrea Bocelli record that came out a few years ago that came out with a song that was a duet, and one by itself. What the heck. Just put them on there. I personally like the duet. Certainly (performing) live we don't have duet partner, so I sing it solo. It's just another offering on there."

Malo's duet partner was none other than Martina McBride, whom he adores. "She's just a powerhouse. She truly just nailed it. It was great," Malo recalls.

Malo only co-wrote one of the songs on this new disc, so he must have a backlog of self-written material, right?

"I wrote a bunch of songs...I just finished producing an album for Rick Trevino on Warner," he says, when asked about his seeming songwriting dry spell. "I wrote a bunch of songs with him, and I enjoyed the process immensely. And I love writing music. But I've been wanting to...for this phase in my life...I'm really enjoying singing the most. More than writing. More than producing. More than anything else."

"I enjoyed writing, and I felt like sometimes there was something to say," he continues. "But more often, I had to write because we needed songs. Almost out of necessity. I feel like now I'm at a point where I've written enough songs, and I've gotten that out of the way. And if I ever want to write songs again, I will. I mean, I certainly still write. I have a few songs, but I wouldn't necessarily call it a backlog of material. Because that would imply that there's a lot. There's a few songs here and there. And I'm always writing. That's not to say that the next project here or there is going to be an original music record."

"I'm sure at one point I'll go, 'Okay, now it's time to say something and write about something.' There's certainly a lot going on in the world, and there's always inspiration somewhere. I take things as they come. I don't force the creative side to do anything it doesn't want to do. If I don't want to write a song, I don't force it. I'm enjoying singing. And it's what I really want to do, is sing songs. So I'm enjoying that for right now."

Malo, as most country fans know, was formerly with The Mavericks. But the way Malo talks about The Mavericks now, makes it sound like he's permanently put that part of his musical life behind him.

"I have officially quit the band," he states emphatically. "So I am no longer in The Mavericks. As far as making music with The Mavericks, that will be an impossibility. That's just not going to happen. But as far as them continuing on with someone else, perhaps. You'll have to ask them. It's amazing how people want to hang on to some things. They just don't want to let it go. I kind of laughed at all the hoopla that was made when The Mavericks stopped making music. I was, like, really? People care that much? It's a band. Life goes on. People like to hang on to something, and God bless."

"But I feel it's time to move on. I honestly think that bands should have a lifespan. And I think after five albums or six albums, bands need to quit. At the beginning, they're kind of horrible, yet there's something there. Then they get better. And then they make really brilliant records. And then it's down hill from there. And they should just stop."

"Of course, nobody's taking my advice because every time some band gets together, they make $120 billion. What do I know? But as far as making records, we had done all we were gonna do, and I wanted do some different things. And as long as you are a part of a band, it's hard to do those other things. There's never enough time, and nobody seems to wanna let you do those other things. It was time to put that to rest, and I certainly wanted a life outside of The Mavericks."

Malo's current direction shouldn't come as any surprise to Mavericks fans. Even then, he was stretching out to include plenty of material you wouldn't automatically label "country. "

"At times, we scratched our heads and we scared the hell out of the record label a bunch of times," he confesses. "I think if anything, I wish artists would do more of that. I wish artists would really be artists and scare the hell out of the record labels once in a while. And what I mean by that...I don't mean hold them at gunpoint. But actually tell them, 'No, this what we want to do, and this is how we're gonna do it and just sticks to their guns more."

Malo may no longer be Maverick (as in the band), but he hasn't lost a single ounce of maverick spirit.

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