The Grammy category of Best American Roots Song is just three years old but has already featured some of the biggest names in what amounts to one of the most wide-ranging categories on the ballot. Competing with winner Jason Isbell (for his track "24 Frames" from the Number One country LP Something More Than Free) were Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris for "The Travelin' Kind," "Julep" by the Punch Brothers, the Don Henley-Merle Haggard duet "The Cost of Living," and the Mavericks' Latin-tinged "All Night Long."
The Mavs, whose typically diverse LP Mono, was also nominated for Best Americana Album, lost out to Isbell yet again, but did get the gig as one of the key acts for the awards ceremony. Before the CBS telecast began, the four-man core (Raul Malo on lead vocals, Eddie Perez on guitar, Jerry Dale McFadden on keyboards and Paul Deakin on drums) performed a pulsing version of the song that opens their latest LP, supplementing their already deliciously thick sound with another half-dozen or so players.
In any other venue, the result would have had the crowd on its collective feet, but many of those in attendance for the ceremony were just making their way into the auditorium. The band's solid beat is beautifully punctuated by the horn section, while Malo's Orbison-esque vocals on a song that's all about staying power suggest that the group have more than a marathon romantic encounter in mind with "All Night Long."
"The circle continues," Malo told Rolling Stone Country before Mono's release. "We have had a great run and it continues to get better and we're having more fun then ever before." Mono marks the band's second album since their 2013 reunion ended a 10-year drought.
The reigning Americana Music Association's Group of the Year, the Mavericks won a Grammy in 1996 for the single "Here Comes the Rain."