For a quarter century, The Mavericks have been deftly blending blue-collar country-rock with heavy doses of Cuban and Latin groove to create a distinctive sound that seems to defy genre. The ever expanding sonic big tent of Americana is their best fit. Until recently, these Americana Music Association's 2015 Group of the Year winners' fans have faced the problem of trying to explain the group's music to the masses. While The Mavericks' post-2012 reunion studio albums, In Time and Mono, gave a taste of the band's eclectic sound, it never quite captured the excitement of seeing them live. At their core, they are a concert band, needing to be seen to be appreciated. Now fans have a handy marker to convert friends into believers with the Oct. 14 release of The Mavericks' first post-reunion live album, All Night Live, Volume 1.
All Night Live Volume 1 is not only The Mavericks' first live album in their current incarnation. It is the flagship release on their newly minted Mono Mundo Recordings record label. Culled from a handful of shows on The Mavericks' 2015 Mono Mundo World Tour, All Night Live Volume 1 comes as close as is possible to capturing on tape the band's thrilling stage show and palpable crowd energy.
This liveliness is best captured in the album's first focus track, “Come Unto Me.” The In Time fan favorite is a four and a half minute extended jam out as Raul Malo's tenor boom is backed up by a scorching guitar solo from Eddie Perez, an out-front accordion from Michael Guerra that fills the holes left when Malo's giant vocals are missing and a driving percussion anchor from Paul Deakin.
It's likely no accident that “Come Unto Me” was the album's first highlight track. While most bands who have been around for 25 years are sneaking one to two new tracks into a live set filled with their early hits, The Mavericks, and their fans, seem the most alive on the new songs. The live album begins and ends with a pair of songs from Mono. The boomer “All Night Long” comes in on the back of a driving cowbell intro and quickly establishes The Mavericks' touring band, "The Fantastic Four." The band includes brass section Max Abrams and Matt Cappy as essential to the band's live energy. Bookending that track is the final cut,“(Waiting For) The World to End”, as Malo playfully closes out with “we're just waiting for this song to end. You're all waiting for the show to end!”
While no live album could ever completely capture the sweaty shoulder-to-shoulder energy of standing in the crowd at a Mavericks' show, All Night Live Volume 1 comes close. The Mavericks are teasing a new studio release in early 2017, the “Volume 1,” but the "All Night Live Volume 1" title tantalizes with the possibility of more live releases to come from the band.
The Mavericks are on tour now and you can get the latest on tickets and releases here on AXS.