Raul Malo takes it solo for the holidays

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Entertainment,Music,Nancy Dunham

Raul Malo and the Mavericks have given fans a holiday gift like no other -- they've regrouped and will soon tour behind their first album in seven years, "In Time."

But first, Malo is taking a band on a solo tour to celebrate the season with his fans. He's still touring behind his release from earlier this year, "Sinners & Saints."

"We are out there again spreading some holiday cheer," Malo said of the tour. "I love all the different songs of the holidays and always wanted to do this."

There's little doubt Malo and his bandmates have cause for celebration this year. The release of the Mavericks' new album coincides with the 20th anniversary of their first major-label release. Like the group's past work, this new recording redefines alt-country, which Malo, by the way, is credited with inventing.

Onstage
Raul Malo
When: Doors 6 p.m., show 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria
Info: $39.50; 202-397-SEAT (7328); ticketmaster.com

"It was also like a perfect storm of all these opportunities and real support from the business community as well," Malo said of the newly invigorated band.

Now signed with Valory Music, an imprint of Big Machine Records, the Mavericks enticed fans with the digital release of their EP "Suited Up and Ready" this year. Many maintain that fans' response just builds on the solid platform on which the band was built all those years ago.

The Mavericks were born after Malo and bass player Robert Reynolds met by happenstance and musically bonded over Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. The Mavericks released a self-titled debut album in 1991, a few years after the group formed.

After the group went on hiatus, Malo and his bandmates went on to solo careers, though they still held the Mavericks in high regard. Malo said that although they could have continued to tour and record, he didn't want to continue if the fans and the community weren't behind the band. But Malo's writing and the industry's renewed excitement came together at just about the same time.

The new 14-track album, which is described as music that "defied generations, blurred genres and made everybody feel good," brings the band's much-loved sound right back to its fans.

"I had been writing like I normally do anyway, and it just so happens that particular batch of songs sounds like the Mavericks," Malo said. "I honestly don't know, at this point in time, what I was actually thinking when I wrote them, but the fact is that these songs are here. Their creation is just another one of the factors that made re-forming easy."

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Nancy Dunham

Examiner Correspondent
The Washington Examiner