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Live in Austin Texas ()

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The Mavericks are talented enough to do any number of things with their music, which has been just a bit problematic for them since their breakthrough with 1994's What a Crying Shame, as they shuffle back and forth between country, sophisticated pop, and Latin accents in the studio without sounding as if they've found a permanent home with any of them. But they can play pretty much anything they set their minds to and make it work, and Raul Malo's glorious pipes are always a joy to hear, and on this live album their ambitious eclecticism works strongly in their favor. Live in Austin Texas finds an augmented version of the Mavericks (complete with horn section) pulling out all the stops for a vocally enthusiastic audience, and here they jump from one style to another with a surefooted abandon, sounding confident and enthusiastic at every turn. Malo is front and center on this performances, as well he should be, but his partners Robert Reynolds (on bass and guitar), Paul Deakin (drums and percussion), and Eddie Perez (guitars) give the singer as good as they get, and while this set list isn't exactly full of surprises, one spin reveals these guys are born showmen who approach each song with equal shares of passion and chops. Malo in particular sounds like he's having one hell of a good time at this show, and the audience is with him all the way -- and from the sound of this show, you sure can't blame 'em. Wherever they choose to go, the truly great Mavericks have talent as wide as their vision, and Live in Austin Texas captures them firing on all cylinders. If you can't find something on this album to groove to, maybe you ought not to bother with this whole music thing in the first place. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi Hide synopsis

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