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Clip: Raul Malo @ Three Rivers Arts Festival

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    Roots rocker Raul Malo enjoying life as a solo artist Thursday, June 01, 2006 By John Hayes, Pittsburgh
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2006
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      Roots rocker Raul Malo enjoying life as a solo artist

      Thursday, June 01, 2006
      By John Hayes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

      So long, Mavericks.

      Last year, the maverick country band that bucked the mainstream lost
      one of the most distinctive voices in the industry when founder Raul
      Malo left the group. Fans, friends and industry analysts had seen the
      split coming for years. Malo had been drifting further from the group,
      releasing three critically acclaimed solo albums since 2001 and
      launching well-received concert tours without The Mavericks. He'd been
      with them for ...

      "Too long," spat Malo in a recent telephone interview. "I freed myself
      from that yoke about a year ago. I was just tired of being in The
      Mavericks. I'm proud of what I did with them, particularly [the 1998
      CD] 'Trampoline.' But after a while it's like, 'What am I doing here,
      exactly? I seem to be doing everything here.' "

      Now, Malo's still doing everything. But he's doing it for himself, and
      he obviously loves it.

      "You know, once you free yourself of the confines of the group," he
      says, "you can pretty much do whatever you want."

      So what does Malo want? He's a music industry maverick. His rich and
      powerful tenor could have been applied to more classical pursuits, but
      he knows when to turn off the vibrato, and he prefers country music.
      With some production tricks and perhaps some more timely songs, he
      could go the mainstream country route. But he likes traditional
      country, roots rock and broader musical experimentation too much to
      cram himself into the cookie-cutter. Born in Miami of Cuban-born
      parents, he's always had an sweet spot for Latin and lounge tunes, and
      he's put his personal brand on lots of early rock covers.

      Malo will open the 2006 Three Rivers Arts Festival with a diverse set
      of songs from his Mavericks and solo catalogs. His most recent CD, the
      Peter Asher-produced "You're Only Lonely," ranges from the Everly
      Brothers' "So Sad" to Willie Nelson's "Angel Flying Too Close to the
      Ground" to the Bee Gees' "Run to Me."

      Perhaps the closest run-in Malo has had with the country mainstream is
      his duet of Randy Newman's "Feels Like Home" with Nashville superstar
      Martina McBride. It's a beautiful give-and-take arrangement that
      showcases two of the best voices in the business. But is it a step
      toward Hot Country radio waves? Hardly.

      "I've known Martina for years," he says. "I'll tell you how this came
      up. We happened to be working on different recording projects with the
      same mixing engineer, and he said, 'Let's play her the song and see if
      she likes it.' It's just that the timing was right. I've never tried
      to make music just so radio would play it. It would be nice, but radio
      is just a tough nut to crack, and I don't worry about it."

      Raul Malo

      With: Autumn Ayers (6:30 p.m.).
      Where: Point State Park, Three Rivers Arts Festival.
      When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
      Admission: Free.
      Three Rivers Arts Festival schedule
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