Though he is best known as leader of the Mavericks, the most consistent and daring country band of the '90s, Raul Malo has fully realized his gifts as a solo performer, a singer's singer, second only to Ray Price for his ability to take a country or pop song and launch it into the theatrical outer limits of the human voice. He doesn't just transform tunes; he dominates melodies like a conquistador. On 2009's Lucky One, Malo returns to original material — gliding from Bakersfield twang to Deano jazz to canción suave, to the string-sparkled Nashville sound and pure Tex-Mex dance music, setting the tequila aside long enough for a deep dip in the fountain of youth. Raise a glass with him during this relatively rare, small club appearance.
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