Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Mavericks – Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered Am I

Anyone that has followed this blog knows how I feel about Raul Malo. I promised that I would cheerfully follow him, and his heart-melting tenor, over a cliff with nary a protest.  I came to eat those words a few months ago when news reached my ears that he was reuniting with his old band, The Mavericks.

I freely admit that my auditory love affair with Raul started during his tenure with The Mavericks.  I loved every piece of music he created with them.  When I heard that the band had broken up, I was deeply saddened. It was clear that the parting was not amicable and the chances of reunion were nil.  My consolation was Raul’s solo career. I soon realized that the magic of The Mavericks was alive and well as long as Raul was out there creating music.  I grew to love Raul as a solo artist. He was inventive. His songwriting was better than it had ever been.  His skill as a guitarist grew with each passing performance.  He surrounded himself with top-notch musicians. Before long, I didn’t miss The Mavericks at all.

When I heard that the band was reuniting, I found myself skeptical.  Correction, I found myself cynical and pissed.  Damnit, I had moved on. Why revisit the past?  I entered a state of mourning for the loss of Raul Malo, the solo artist. Like a petulant child, I stuck out my chin and said that I would not be a part of this.

The first week in May, I learned that The Mavericks were playing at La Zona Rosa on Friday, May, 18. My conscience needled me fiercely. Had Raul ever lead me astray musically?  Then, remembering my pledge of undying devotion, I secured tickets. When that Friday night arrived, I dutifully stood outside La Zona Rosa for over an hour so that I could take my place in front.

The band took the stage to the roaring approval of an adoring crowd.  As they moved through old favorites and new songs, I was quickly caught up in the thrill of the music. It was my first love, all grown up, and just as hot as ever.  Eddie Perez played scorching lead guitar and provided perfect harmonies while working some breathtaking Dwight Yoakum style moves. (I stood directly in front of Eddie – those moves continue to haunt my dreams, the very, very good dreams.)  Paul Deakin was back on drums with intimidating intensity and Jerry Dale McFadden covered the keys with infectious enthusiasm.  Robert Reynolds was there, too. Rounding out the mix was Elio Giordano on bass, Michael Guerra on accordion, and a horn section!  Watching the electric energy between Raul and Eddie is a memory I hope never to loose.  It was the party of the year with Raul and his guitar front and center.

Why did I ever doubt him? Clearly, anywhere Raul Malo goes is the place to be.  And so….

After one whole quart of vodka, like a daisy I’m awake.
With no plain club soda handy, I don’t even shake.
Music men aren’t a new sensation. I’ve told you what I think.
But this brand new iteration, put me on the blink.

I’m wild again, beguiled again, a simpering, whimpering child again.
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.
My new obsession:

Seriously, you are warned.  If you watch this one, you may be haunted by Eddie's suave style. Oh yeah, and Raul too. Raul's great....

This was taken by the lovely young woman standing to my left - so hot!

Rob Baird – Not Dangerous, More Like a Convenience

I caught Rob Baird at the Saxon Pub a couple of weeks ago, where he was celebrating the release of his new CD, I Swear It’s the Truth.  I found his show entertaining and easy to enjoy.  He’s clearly a talented songwriter and vocalist.  Dreams and Gasoline is the opening track.  Both on the CD and live it moves along at a nice pace and has that country radio hook. This is true of Same Damn Thing and most of the other songs on the CD.

There really isn’t anything objectionable about Rob Baird, but I find myself wishing for a little more adventure.  In my view, country music is at it’s best when it takes a little risk, when it steps across a line now and then. You won’t find any risk taking on I Swear It’s the Truth, which is probably what makes him perfect for mainstream country radio.  In fact, he’ll probably be CMA Artist of the Year in another 4 years. 

The problem with mainstream country radio is this: one or two songs along, I find myself looking for another station.

Same damn thing...