Never say never. Since reaching incredible success in the 90s, The Mavericks are picking up where they left off after a lengthy hiatus threatened to sideline the band for good.
An Evening with The Mavericks pulls into Jacksonville April 10 at The Florida Theatre. The band debuts new material from the latest record Mono as part of the International Mono Mundo Tour. “We’re all pretty jazzed about it,” says pianist Jerry Dale McFadden. And with good reason. Following the 2013 release of their previous record In Time, the Mavericks had not played together as a band for almost nine years.
“We sort of took a huge break from each other and a lot of us, including myself, probably thought the band would never get back together. We started playing with the idea and thought maybe it’s worth doing again,” he says. “It was fun to do a new record, but I think a lot of people were waiting to see if we were seriously pursuing this. But we are all completely on board, and so it was great to do another one. Mono solidifies that we are back better than ever and feeling really good about the new music we are making and not just relying on the old stuff from our heyday.”
With a Cuban-American lead singer, garage-band ferocity and propensity for intense live shows, The Mavericks broke ground for the country format with hits like ‘Here Comes the Rain,’ ‘Crying Shame,’ ‘Dance the Night Away’ and ‘All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down’ and scored the group industry awards in prestigious categories such as Vocal Group and Album of the Year. They received a Grammy Award in 1995 for Best group Country Performance.
McFadden, who relocated from Nashville to Jacksonville three years ago, has performed with the band since 1994. He was originally an auxiliary player but was later added as a full-time member following an internal shakeup that left a permanent space to fill.
The record label wanted the Mavericks as a four-piece band like The Beatles. McFadden says the band argued that the Rolling Stones achieved success as a five-piece, but the label didn’t budge. McFadden recorded, toured and performed as a huge part of the band but did not receive the recognition as a permanent member until 2012.
“When this all came back around, it was a whole new deal, so we were a five-piece. But then we lost one of our founding members, Robert Reynolds, last year so now we’re back to four, and I happen to be one of the four,” he says. “Life is crazy. It’s unpredictable. You never know where its going to lead.”
It’s impossible to define The Mavericks with just one spot on the color wheel. They paint their unique sound with different shades from neotraditional country to Latin and Rockabilly. McFadden says Mono makes their sound even more difficult to classify. “There are several songs that are outright goth songs. We are just not afraid to throw in all of our influences. I think in the 90s we were still trying to be a country band, but it’s hard to really call us a country band. We still love country music and still play it, but we like so many different things,” he says. “Since the late 90s, we’ve always had a horn section tour with us and it gives us a different sound that’s definitely not a country sound. And of course, having a Cuban lead singer Raul Malo gives us the distinct Latin flavor which is great.”
The Mavericks tested their new music with a couple of dates in the northeast immediately after the release of Mono followed by four weeks of European dates. “I think the crowds have been way into it so far. I don’t think we could ever get back to the kind of success that we had in the 90s. Our fans are real fans of the music. We’re thankful that we have that 90s reputation where we won a bunch of awards and sold millions of records. But the record business is so different now that it’s hard for anyone to sell records,” McFadden says. “We’re lucky that we’re known for our great live show, and we’re bringing music to the people, so we get to do what we love to do. It would be wonderful to have a hit song again, but we aren’t really trying to do that. We’re just making the music that makes us happy and hoping that it makes our fans happy, too.”