Review: Jack Foley
LIVE albums are always difficult items to review.
By their very nature, they're designed to cater purely for the
fans, to evoke fond memories of live experiences, and to showcase
the talents of the artists in question as they were meant to be
Having never really been a massive fan of The Mavericks, the
prospect of listening to Live in Austin, Texas, was always going
to be a trying affair.
Yet, for fans, it is undoubtedly a fitting showcase of the band's
big stage brilliance, and the next best thing to a greatest hits
Recorded on June 2, 2004 on the legendary stage of Stubbs’
Barbecue in Austin, Texas, the 16-song showcase of the band’s
fun, grand show features stunning renditions of several of the
best-loved songs in the band’s catalogue, along with an
eclectic mix of band and fan favorites.
It was recorded live to 48 tracks of 24-bit PCM audio using
the RADAR hard disk recording system, which were then mixed digitally,
with no sweetening tracks, via the Sony OXFORD mixing console
to 24 bit masters.
Hence, all of the hallmarks of the fevered pursuit of entertainment
that is a Mavericks live show - namely, horns and tequila, Spanish
and English, pure, unadulterated diversity, and of course, the
band’s trademark fusion of Latin, rockabilly and soul -
are featured at the Austin showpiece.
And there's no denying that from a musical point of view, it
is beautifully performed and extremely diverse, having been based
on the band’s personal choice, rather than any desire to
produce a 'greatest hits'-themed package.
As such, it remains an enduring tribute to everything fans have
come to know and love about the band, as well as becoming another
chapter to the incredible saga that represents the band's history.
Starting as a club band, in Miami, The Mavericks hit Nashville
in the early 90’s, taking the music scene by storm with
their unique brand of cutting-edge alt-country.
In a time when the country radio airwaves were dominated by 'hat-acts',
the Mavericks broke new ground with their distinctive balance
of vintage music and contemporary attitude.
Hailed by critics and beloved by fans for their creatively restless
methods of recording and songwriting that not only pushed format
boundaries, but openly defied them, The Mavericks had an extraordinary
four-record run on MCA Nashville, earning Grammy, CMA, and ACM
Awards and racking up album sales in the millions.
The band toured relentlessly, crossing the globe many times over,
igniting critics and audiences worldwide with their high-octane,
richly-textured, genuinely different live shows.
They enjoyed great success in the UK, particularly with the Top
10 hit Dance The Night Away and the platinum album Trampoline.
By the late 1990’s, the band’s musical horizons
had grown broader, but US radio’s had not.
The same creative restlessness that fueled the band’s musical
innovations, paired with the tension of ten years of touring and
togetherness, precipitated a hiatus-turned-breakup.
The Mavericks un-officially went their separate ways, each pursuing
“non-Mavericks” musical interests, and all finding
success in their individual creative outlets.
By 2002, feeling a bit of a Mavericks void that was too compelling
to ignore, the band - Raul Malo, singer, songwriter and guitarist;
Robert Reynolds, bass; Paul Deakin, drums and new lead guitarist
Eddie Perez - reunited to record their first CD in six years,
2003’s critically-acclaimed The Mavericks (released
on Sanctuary Records).
The supporting tour crossed the globe, with the band receiving
high marks for their live show from critics worldwide.
Live in Austin therefore represents a definitive taste of The
Mavericks at their best - live and enthusiastic.
Yet, it remains one for the fans only.