Raul Malo of The Mavericks is on a solo tour before 30th anniversary celebrations for his band begin. (Courtesy Paradigm Talent Agency)

Raul Malo celebrates three decades of Mavericks

Singer on solo ‘calm before the storm’ tour

Mavericks leader Raul Malo calls his current serene solo acoustic tour — where fans can grasp the full wonder of his sonorous singing voice in a small club setting – the calm before the storm. Later this year, he’ll be a buzz-sawing blur as The Mavericks celebrate their 30th anniversary with special events and special releases, including a vinyl box set of their MCA Nashville catalog, a group-history documentary and a Spanish language disc coming early next year. “So this is my me-getting-away-from-the-circus tour,” he says. “And then it’s right back to work, because there is a lot of music coming.”

Can you believe it’s been three decades?

It’s funny — I was hesitant at first to celebrate 30 years, because I immediately started thinking, “Oh, my God, we’ve been doing this for 30 years now? We are so old!” I mean, I turn 54 this year. Plus, I’ve never been one to reminisce about the good old days. That’s how I’ve lived my life, by not really looking back or resting on laurels and just always moving forward. But the more I talked about it with friends and family, the more I realized that, Yeah, this is a special thing, to have been doing it for that long. We haven’t always had the most normal trajectory, and we haven’t always been easy on ourselves, but to still be here doing this is indeed pretty remarkable.

And there’s vinyl coming?

There will be a few different packages. But this vinyl box set will be amazing. I’ve always wanted to see our records on vinyl, so we’ve been recording some of our favorite country songs as bonus material, songs that really influenced us over the years, like “Before the Next Teardrop Falls,” Hank Cochran’s “Why Can’t She Be You,” and a really swinging version of “Don’t Be Cruel.” And we’re also doing cool covers for the Spanish-language album, so The Mavericks have been preparing non-stop for this 30th anniversary.

Aside from some standout female artists, country music is in an incredibly sorry state right now.

Well, I always go back to this, and I tell it to young artists all the time: “Do you want to be famous? Or do you want to be an artist? Because the two don’t often coincide.” So what’s important is to be an artist. We’ve been complaining about the state of country music for years, and I equate it to this: When you’re driving cross country, you’ve got all this stuff by the side of road, hotels and Cracker Barrel restaurants, which is mainstream country. But if you want to see the really cool stuff like us, you have to get off the highway and drive.

IF YOU GO

Raul Malo

Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, May 18

Tickets: $39.50 to $40

Contact: (415) 885-0750. https://slimspresents.com/great-american-music-hall/

Note: Malo also appears at 7:30 p.m. May 15 at Montalvo Arts Center, 15400 Montalvo Road, Saratoga. Tickets are $53-$59; montalvoarts.org.

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