Versatility is what you can expect from The Mavericks but when you’re talking about a country music group with Miami roots fronted by a Cuban-American singer, that’s kind of par for the course. This kind of range extends to the band’s shows and given the fact that singer Raul Malo counts Luciano Pavarotti, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Frank Sinatra and Tammy Wynette as influences, it shouldn’t be surprising the kind of cover song surprises his band unleashes on unsuspecting concert-goers at Mavericks shows. Here are a few of them.
Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”
“I love playing that song because it’s beautiful and simple. It’s got a beautiful melody and there are a lot of different ways to play that song. That’s always the mark of a really great song, which is when you can hear it in different ways and it still sounds beautiful and you don’t take away from the original intent of the writer.”
Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them”
“We’ve been doing that for a while. I think that one blows people’s minds. Here we are playing this and it’s always fun to play and being that it’s a long song, for those first five minutes, you feel like a genuine rock star. No wonder these guys go out and tour. Roger Waters is still out on tour and of course, who wouldn’t want to do that. It’s really fun for pretty selfish reasons, but we dig it.”
KC & the Sunshine Band “Boogie Shoes”
“Playing this is ridiculous because it’s really fun. That one, like the Pink Floyd song, really blows people’s minds.”
Willie Nelson “Crazy”
“Some covers are really special. I’ll get up and do Willie Nelson’s ‘Crazy’ by myself because it’s a beautiful song and it’s something I heard as a kid that really turned me on to country music and it eventually turned me on to Willie Nelson. He’s been a treasure trove of knowledge, musical, political and lifestyle wisdom. We just opened for him not too long ago. It was remarkable. It’s like Mount Rushmore. He’s just that. You’re sitting there and it’s one song after another. And even if he didn’t write it, a song like ‘Always On My Mind,’ well, he sang it and that’s the version you know. That’s the version everyone is singing along to and holy shit, it’s as powerful now as it was back then.”
The Mavericks appear on Sept. 16 at the Beacon Theatre, 74th Street & Broadway, NYC. To find out more information, visit www.beacontheatre.com or call 866-858-0008.