Squawk Radio

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Liz Offers Some Musical Variety

iTunes lists the Mavericks as a country band, but “Trampoline,” another album full of incredibly good music without a bad number in the lot, is all over the map. There are influences of blues and R&B, latin, rock, pop, cheesy 70s, even a little jazz. And Elvis himself could have recorded at least one of the numbers.

We start off with “Dance the Night Away,” with its south-of-the-border horns and rhythms, then move to a 70s-feeling “Tell Me Why,” followed by the pop-infused country, “I Should Know.” And then it really gets interesting. “Someone Should Tell Her” is like a Herb Alpert inspired roller rink song, rife with organ. And “To Be with You” is another country/pop number, but this time full of yearning--or perhaps “pining” would be more suited to the Nashville style. And then there’s “I’ve Got this Feeling,” that just begs for a silver-studded, bell-bottomed white jumpsuit and cape. “Fool No. 1” is straight from a Vegas cocktail lounge. “I Don’t Even Know Your Name” is pure pop and would be perfectly at home at an eighth grade mixer. There’s even a mambo--”Melbourne Mambo,” to be exact--and a Rudy Vallee soundalike in “Dolores.” There’s the gospel-driven “Save a Prayer.” And Hank Williams (the original) could have recorded “Dream River,” such an exquisite example of old-school country music is it.

And there you have it. The entire album. I had to list every single song, because every single song is is completely different from the one before it, and no two are alike. Except that every one is a joy to listen to. Mavericks front man and guitarist Raul Malo (who also doubles on piano and drums from time to time) is responsible for the bulk of the songwriting (and has released solo albums, as well). His influences must be as varied as is the entire world of music.

Speaking for myself, who fully cops to an ability to write well in only one specific area (romantic comedy), I am in awe of someone whose gift is so sundry and so broad. Whatever Malo puts his mind to writing and recording, it turns out beautifully. I can’t possibly choose a favorite song in this collection, which is unusual for me. To put it simply, It’s all good.
Elizabeth Bevarly, 12:00 PM