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Album review: Raul Malo's 'Sinners & Saints'

Raul_240_Anyone who’s followed Raul Malo’s solo career over the last decade knows how broadly the former Mavericks frontman views the notion of American roots music. Show tunes, country standards, R&B gems — Malo’s sung them all with velvet-voiced authority, and that’s not even including his originals, many of which shimmer with traces of his family’s Cuban roots.

For “Sinners & Saints,” the Nashville-based singer opened up his sound even further, traveling to Austin to record with organist Augie Meyers and other members of Meyers’ long-running Tejano outfit, the Texas Tornados. The sweeping result stretches from the psych-surf title track to a closing cover of Los Lobos’ “Saint Behind the Glass.” Along the way, Malo takes credible stabs at roadhouse rockabilly in “Living for Today” and Glen Campbell-style pop in “Staying Here.”

For all its stylistic variety, though, “Sinners” hangs together thanks to Malo’s consistently remarkable vocals. Listening to this guy sing — listening to him sing anything — is an act of pure pleasure.

—Mikael Wood

Raul Malo
“Sinners & Saints”
(Fantasy/Concord)
Three and a half stars (Out of four)

 

 
Comments () | Archives (2)

Malo is THE best singer/musician in this country today, and it's incredible to me that he is not better known. His fans love him, but he should have MORE fans!

Raul Malo can sing anything. I saw him sing with the Mavericks back in the 1990s, and more recently at a Gram Parsons tribute show. Wow, what a voice!


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