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Around the World (Live - The Sage Gateshead - 2011)

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Album Review

Although he broke into the public eye as the lead singer for pop-country outfit the Mavericks, Raul Malo is hardly a country singer (although he can sing a country song as well as anybody on the planet). He's explored just about every strand of popular New World music, from Mexican border fare to salsa, calypso, carnival, rock, and jazz, and of course country, and he's done all of it with an amazing voice that soars with sincerity and emotional depth. His latest album, recorded live in July of 2011 with his core backup band, the orchestra Northern Sinfonia (conducted by Paul Gambill), and a horn section, finds him tackling classic love songs from a variety of genres, giving each song an orchestrated big-band lounge feel. But this isn't Malo going Vegas here, although he's certainly capable of being that kind of populist entertainer. This is Malo bringing a lot of strains together, from Latin rhythms to uptown swing, and fashioning his own brand of universal pop. It certainly isn't country. Highlights include the haunted resignation of "Make the World Go Away," the intense and longing "Every Little Thing About You," a rocking "Dance the Night Away," which finds Malo and his amassed orchestra sounding like a more rootsy version of ELO, and an absolutely beautiful version of "Around the World." This is a live recording, but the engineering and sound are top-notch, and the emotional interplay between Malo and his audience lends a sort of spark to everything. It seems this man can sing anything, and in any style.


Born: 07 August 1965 in Miami, FL

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Originally making his mark in the country music world and then slipping into the Latin and jazz arenas via rock & roll, Raul Malo has proven to be an ever-expanding musical talent. Malo, born in Miami of Cuban parents, started playing bass guitar in high school and soon found his way into several small bands. In 1987, he made his first recording with the Basics, and one song, "Paperheart," appeared on the promotional album Unsigned. While the album wasn't a success, the experience whet Malo's appetite...
Full bio
Around the World (Live - The Sage Gateshead - 2011), Raul Malo
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