The Mavericks play benefit concert for American Quarter Horse Foundation 

click to enlarge MANDATORY CREDIT: RGK Entertainment - L-R: Jerry Dale McFadden, Paul Deakin, Raul Malo, Eddie Perez of The Mavericks - MANDATORY CREDIT: RGK ENTERTAINM
  • MANDATORY CREDIT: RGK Entertainment L-R: Jerry Dale McFadden, Paul Deakin, Raul Malo, Eddie Perez of The Mavericks

When you first hear The Mavericks’ sweltering Latin dancehall grooves mixed with R&B, rockabilly and ska elements, it can be disconcerting to realize the band has been classified as country for a quarter of a century, and with great success.

Its latest album, Mono, named so because it is a monaural release, takes the band even further away from the beer, hats, and pick-up truck world of country radio and deeper into the kind of uncharted territory that comes about when cultural borders blur. Yet regardless of its multiple influences, its sound still remains 100 percent identifiable as its own trademark style.

According to Paul Deakin, the drummer and co-founder of the band, they are no longer just playing country.

“When we started, we might have fit into that genre, which was our starting point. Over the years, we let other things slip in, from ska to Latin to everything, so now, we’re kind of genre nonspecific,” Deakin said. “You can make up a name and call it non-gen, or you can call it Americana. It encompasses everything; American music is multicultural and all different influences. So, yeah, that’s the flag we’re flying these days, the Americana flag.”

Deakin said classic country is still a part of The Mavericks’ sound, but he feels the definition of country music has changed over the years. “As a genre, if you ask me, what’s on country radio isn’t really country either. I like Waylon and Willie, you know, and Patsy Cline; that’s my kind of country.”

The band was founded in Miami in the late-’80s/early ’90s as Miami’s famed South Beach was being renovated, which gave a boost to the local music scene. There were a number of venues in the area, but none that specialized in country music.

“There were a lot of original music clubs there; some of them were considered punk, but they were just loud music clubs,” Deakin said.  “Our first gig was in Little Haiti at an English pub where they played punk music and we played country music, so it was all wrong, which is how it worked out.”

The Mavericks played on bills and shared a manager with fellow Floridian Marilyn Manson in those early days.

“It was definitely traditional country that we liked, but we had to rev it up a little bit because of where we were playing,” Deakin said.  “That’s how the sound was honed. Playing those clubs with those people, you had to put some stink on it.”

The band was signed in 1991, but it took a few albums before it finally hit double platinum success with its 1994 release What a Crying Shame, for which it won a Grammy and awards from the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.

The band broke up in 2004. Singer and guitarist Raul Malo, the only other founding member still with the group, went on to pursue a solo career. According to Deakin, there were no plans to get back together until someone offered them money to do a reunion tour. When Deakin called up Malo to find out what he wanted to do, Malo was ready to record another album and wanted to record it as a Mavericks record so they would not just perform their greatest hits on the tour. The resulting album was 2013’s In Time.

“Before we ever played another note together live, we were back in the studio and recorded In Time and now Mono, and we’re continuing on,” Deakin said. “What started as 20 dates might turn into 20 years.”

The Mavericks perform 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show in the Expo Hall at State Fair Park, 333 Gordon Cooper Blvd.

2015 Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show

American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) is the largest single breeders association in the world, with over 260,000 members, and the Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show is the pinnacle event for the association. American quarter horse owners and exhibitors from around the world will flock to Oklahoma City just to compete at the event, which will be held through Sunday at State Fair Park, 333 Gordon Cooper Blvd.

More than 4,760 entries from across the Americas and even from Germany and Switzerland are competing for 99 world championships and more than 75 Adequan Level 2 championship titles.

All of the owners and exhibitors have qualified to compete at this show; members spend the year traveling on weekends just to compete. This event is expected to bring more than $23 million to the Oklahoma City economy.

The Mavericks’ concert on Saturday in Oklahoma Expo Hall is a benefit concert for the American Quarter Horse Foundation, in conjunction with AQHA’s 75th anniversary.

Print headline: Radical sounds, Don’t call The Mavericks’ new album country; call it a comeback.

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