On one hand, this new Mavericks single sounds like a throwback to the group’s mid-nineties heyday. It’s a testament to the Mavericks’ staying power, however, that “Born to Be Blue” still manages to sound fresher than just about anything else on the radio.
One of the most acclaimed country bands of the 1990′s, The Mavericks never became top-tier hitmakers at radio, with none of their singles reaching the Top 10 – not that that stopped them from selling gold and platinum or winning two straight CMA Vocal Group of the Year awards, mind you. They recorded their last studio album together in 2003, with its lackluster commercial reception leading to the group’s subsequent disbandment, upon which Malo embarked on a solo career. Early 2012 brought the news that the Mavericks had re-formed and signed with Valory Music, and if this first single is any indication, their upcoming new album is bound to be a good’n.
Raul Malo can still sing circles around most any other male vocalist - That much is clear from the first note. His performance here exhibits the same power, clarity, and control that he has long been known for, enveloping the song’s swooping melody while conveying the pain of the lyric with ease. Comparisons to Roy Orbison have practically become cliché at this point, but such clearly remain well warranted.
It’s every bit as satisfying that the band’s unshakable chemistry and infectious energy remains fully intact, as does the helping of Latin influence that the group has often experimented with. The accordion-infused arrangement on this track may very well remind one of their excellent Flaco Jimenez-assisted 1996 single “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down” (the group’s highest-peaking chart hit at #13).
It all comes together to form a most enticing preview of an album that promises to rank among 2012′s finest. Needless to say, it’s good to have them back.