As The Mavericks worked to survive multiple personnel changes, a disbanding and a reuniting, one thing is constant among its members ― a passion for music. The group with a sound that is nearly impossible to pin down will make a stop for a holiday-themed show Saturday, Dec. 1, at Keene’s Colonial Theatre.
The Mavericks have bucked tradition since forming in Miami in 1989, when the band performed at alternative rock clubs with contemporaries such as Marilyn Manson. That’s where Cuban-American vocalist and songwriter Raul Malo developed the Grammy Award-winning group’s sound, which is best described as an eclectic fusion of Latin/Caribbean styles, blues, rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, country pop, R&B and jazz.
The band split in 2004, but during the next eight years Malo continued to write music. By 2012, the group came together to perform and record again, reaching the top 10 on the U.S. country album charts the following year with its album, “In Time.”
During the band’s time apart, a new musical category, Americana, had emerged and The Mavericks 2016 album, “Mono,” received two Grammy Award nominations, including Best Americana Album. That same year, the band established its own label, Mono Mundo Recordings and the following year, its album, “Brand New Day,” earned two more Grammy Award nominations as Best Americana Album and Best American Roots Song for the track, “I Wish You Well.”
The Mavericks are wrapping up 2018 with the release of its first holiday album, “Hey! Merry Christmas!” which features eight new seasonal originals and two holiday tunes, Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” and Irving Berlin’s “Happy Holiday.”
Lead guitarist and vocalist Eddie Perez had played a short stint with The Mavericks for a year before it disbanded after several years playing in Dwight Yoakam’s band. Perez’s influences were rock guitarists, including Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and Angus Young of AC/DC.
“We came back in 2012 with a renewed spirit,” he said of him and his fellow Mavericks in a recent phone interview with ELF from his home in Nashville (where the band is now based).
“We had more experience and confidence. Now where we’re at with our own label, we have quite a lot of freedom. It’s a luxurious place to be. We worked very hard to attain this.”
Touring (the band does roughly 120 shows a year), rehearsing, recording, raising families and maintaining a thriving business will always require a lot of hard work.
“It’s a dedication,” said Perez. “It speaks volumes for the kinds of people driving this energy train.”
The train doesn’t rest. After the holiday tour, which Perez said includes an “amazing light show,” The Mavericks are back in the studio to rehearse for a six-day cruise on which the group will be performing.
It’s all possible because of the shared love of the band and its music.
“It’s what we believe in,” said Perez. “If we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it all guns blazing. I throw as much of myself into this in the best possible way I can, from honing my craft of music to showmanship to doing business. Considering where we are in our lives and careers ― we’ve been at it a really long time and we’re all getting older ― The Mavericks are a beautiful, special thing. That’s a rarity these days.”
In defining the band’s sound today, Perez said it still defies a traditional category.
“We’ve become one of the quintessential American bands in music,” he said. “Today’s music ― everything is a reboot of something else. I think we should define music in terms of feeling. For me, I recognize this moment as a very joyous moment. Through the graces of our fans, that’s the kind of music we make.”
It’s only fitting then that The Mavericks’ “Hey! Merry Christmas!” show, on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 8 p.m. at The Colonial Theatre, 95 Main St., Keene, has a “dance alert.” Audience members will be standing, participating and dancing, so if you want to sit, it’s advised to buy tickets from Row 7 and back. Tickets are $49-$75 and can be ordered by calling 352-2033 or at thecolonial.org.