On Tour For ‘En Español,’ Eddie Perez Of The Mavericks Explains The Band’s Success In Embracing Diversity Nashville Executives Avoid

On Tour For ‘En Español,’ Eddie Perez Of The Mavericks Explains The Band’s Success In Embracing Diversity Nashville Executives Avoid

By: Ian Saint

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Although country music’s roots are multi-ethnic, Nashville’s hottest musician rosters don’t exactly reflect that diversity. Nonetheless, that didn’t faze the Mavericks; whose lead singer and lead songwriter, Raul Malo, was born the son of Cuban immigrants in Miami – and their biggest hit on the US Hot Country Songs chart, “All You Ever Do is Bring Me Down”, was a collaboration with legendary accordionist Tejano Flaco Jiménez.

Today, The Mavericks are on tour behind their latest album, “En Español” – aptly named, as it is their first album recorded entirely in Spanish. It’s a far cry from the album that propelled them into the mainstream: 1994’s “What a Crying Shame.” Released on MCA Nashville, it went double platinum; and it was followed by The Mavericks who won Top Vocal Band at the CMA Awards for two consecutive years.

With “En Español,” the Mavericks defied Nashville industry customs in every way – not only did they avoid English, but they also released it entirely on their own, and at the height of the pre-vaccine pandemic in September 2020. Surprisingly, it paid off: “En Español” debuted at number one on the Billboard Latin Pop Albums chart.

WOUB’s Ian Saint had the chance to speak with lead guitarist, Eddie “Scarlito” Perez, shortly before the band returned to Ohio on tour. When Perez joined The Mavericks, they were signed to Sanctuary Records – a UK label owned by the management of heavy metal titans Iron Maiden (whose lead singer, Bruce Dickinson, WOUB recently interviewed) – a testament to how whose American country band, once again, have continued to live up to their name of The Mavericks.

The Mavericks (peoplesbanktheatre.com)

Perez and Saint had a wide-ranging conversation on a variety of topics, including: the surprise of Perez being born and raised in the entertainment industry capital of Los Angeles, but having to head to the heart of the country to forge a lasting musical career; why cutting a number one Latin pop album in Tennessee is more natural than a Nashville record executive might think; how the Mavericks make a variety of demographics feel welcome on the country music scene, despite the tight limitations of country radio programming; why the Mavericks decided to break free from recording contracts and release their albums independently; why budding artists might consider settling in smaller communities; and much more. Click the Play button in the SoundCloud widget below the title to stream the full interview segment on demand.

The Mavericks will play in Ohio twice this month: first, the Peoples Bank Theater at (222 Putnam Street) Marietta on Friday, March 11; then, the Packard Music Hall at (1703 Mahoning Avenue NW) Warren on Thursday, March 31. For a complete list of Mavericks tour dates, visit their official website: themavericksband.com.

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