Black Music Matters Festival

The Mavericks "Play the Hits"

By Dan MacIntosh, December 2019

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"What you hear from that, it just Raul's – after all these years, you can hear that rich, lush voice like nobody else has. I think that it's just a great performance for him. He was connected spiritually to the song. I think the band was also in a moment of just feeling it. What really floats my boat, is the emotion that's behind something. I hear that, and I hear as close to being in the moment as possible."

Martina McBride sings with Malo on "Once Upon a Time," which is the only star duet on the album. "That's a Marvin Gaye and Mary Wells duet that I first heard growing up as a kid in Los Angeles. My mom, her favorite era of music was Motown. That's the era that she grew up in. She would play us that song a lot because it was one of her favorite songs, and years ago I introduced that song to the band. Being on the bus just listening to music, we do a lot of that (introducing each other to music). Raul just fell in love with the song."

"We had recorded that song some time ago, but we had just shelved it. It was something that just didn't quite fit on anything, and we just kind of rediscovered that during the process of making this record. We record our records at a place called Blackbird Studios. It's become our recording home. There's no place like it anywhere. Not only for its vibe, but for its equipment. For us, it really works, and for the last few years, we've made all our records there. Blackbird Studios is owned by John McBride, who is Martina's husband."

"So, Martina every now and then would come into the studio because she's just there, and that's a part of their business. Raul had the idea, ‘I wonder if Martina could sing something like that.' I thought it was brilliant because, on one level, it's not something you would ever really hear her sing, but when you listen back you hear how great she paired up with Raul that you don't even really notice that it's her. "

"I think she did such an amazing job, and I was really lucky enough to see her during the CMA Awards. I got a chance to say hello to her and John. I went up to her and I said, ‘You were amazing on that track, with the way that you swoop up and swoop down with your notes, the way you paired up with him was so great.' Then she goes, ‘Oh, my gosh, I was so nervous because it's not something I normally do or normally feel, but it seemed to work out okay.' We were all very happy with it."

Therefore, for that moment, McBride was able to be an honorary Maverick for a day, in that unique Mavericks world. She was given the chance to live in a realm where genre boundary lines either or blur or completely disappear because when The Mavericks play the hits, these hit songs are always played uniquely The Mavericks way.

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