More than two decades into a career that's always avoided the predictable path, the Mavericks – whose Tex-Mex twang, Cuban-influenced country and retro rock made them unlikely stars in the mid-Nineties and critical darlings during later years – turn another corner with the new album Brand New Day. The record arrives March 31st, marking the group's first time releasing new material on their own label, Mono Mundo Recordings.
"We're gonna love all our troubles away," Raul Malo sings on the title track, whose throwback, symphonic sweep recalls the wall of sound arrangements of the 1960s. Malo pulls double duty as frontman and Phil Spector-ish producer, stacking the song high with bells, horns, harmonies and plenty of four-on-the-floor stomp. Also pitching in are three longtime Mavericks — drummer Paul Deakin, guitarist Eddie Perez and keys man Jerry Dale McFadden — and co-producer Niko Bolas, who helped birth songs like Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" and Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer." (Listen to the premiere of Brand New Day's title track below.)
For a songwriter who has never been shy about his own liberalism, "Brand New Day" isn't just a lush, layered love song. Malo says it packs a political message, too.
"'Brand New Day' expresses how we feel about the journey we're on," he explains, "as a band, as a family, as a nation, as a world. Now more than ever, we're going to need to be more compassionate, more understanding, more loving than ever before."
A collection of 10 tracks, Brand New Day allowed Malo and company the freedom to work without the constraints of a major label for the first time ever (the Mavericks amicably parted ways with Big Machine's Valory Music Co. last year after two albums). They recorded at an unhurried pace – first at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, then in Nashville – and ignored the rules of radio, focusing instead on a Latin- and country-influenced version of rock & roll's early days, before the genre firmly branched away from its country and blues trunk. In other words, there are no Auto-Tuned pop hooks or refrains about F-150s here.
The Mavericks have seen their share of darkness. In late 2014, co-founder Robert Reynolds was dismissed from the group for drug addiction, ending his 17-year run. With Brand New Day, however, they look ahead to brighter horizons.