Raul Malo charms Showcase Live

A review of Raul Malo at Showcase Live on April 14, 2010

, Editor-in-Chief

Raul Malo, best known as frontman for 90’s country favorites The Mavericks, rolled into town last week for a special acoustic show at Showcase Live in Foxboro on Wednesday. The rare acoustic show spotlighted something we’ve known all along: he possesses one of the greatest voices in music.

Malo spends most of his time on the road with a full band and horn section, delivering shows with just as much energy that propelled The Mavericks to stardom. He has always been praised for his stunning vocals but in the stripped down unplugged setting that Malo’s first full acoustic tour brings, they are front and center and give those in attendance a new appreciation for his vocal talent. Touring in support of his latest solo album, last years’ The Lucky One, Malo opened the show with the title track of the new disc before moving on to the infectious “Hello Again.” With help from by accordion player Michael Guerra, Malo would go on to deliver a 90-minute set that touched all points of his career, as well as a handful of covers from his influences.

Fans of The Mavericks were treated to hits such “Dance The Night Away” and “I Said I Love You” and even a rare take on “From Hell To Paradise” off the 1992 album of the same name. He covered Rodney Crowell’s “Till I Gain Control Again” with ease but it was pair of Spanish songs – “Sombras Nada Mas” and “Siboney” – that was most intriguing as Malo pulled off his second language with even more ease, while also using his six-string for some percussion tapping.

Accordion player Michael Guerra was indeed quite skillful, giving many of the tunes a unique flair. he provided backing vocals on a few tunes and he was spot on when he replaced many of the usual guitar solo spots. Guerra’s play on “Around the World”, described by Malo as an “old and corny song”, was delightful and brought the audience the feel of being in an old town in the Mediterranean. That said, the accordion play can be repetitive and a change to acoustic guitar or percussion would have been welcomed.

The set also lacked a “Storytellers”-like vibe that would have gone along perfectly with the show’s setting and vibe. That said, the 44-year old was in good spirit for the show. “Oh, don’t worry, there will me much more un-professionalism coming up,” he quipped after forgetting lyrics to “Loving You”. Following crowd favorite “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down”, Malo departed from the stage. He returned a couple of minutes later, declaring with a chuckle, “Hey, I had to pee!”. Later in the night for the start of the encore, he showed the crowd a brand new bass ukulele he purchased the day before in Northampton and proceeded to have fun by playing signature bass lines from a variety of hits.

Malo closed the night with a beautiful rendition of Roy Orbinson’s “Crying”, proving once again that Malo’s vocals are simply amazing.

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