Sound Observations With Raul Malo

Friday, December 10, 2010 10:48
Posted in category Interviews, Upcoming Shows

By David Moye

T’is the season for Christmas music and Raul Malo has been waiting for the opportunity to play it in concert.

As well he should, since his 2007 holiday release, “Marshmallow World and Other Favorites” is one of the most entertaining and eclectic releases of the last five years.

For an artist as genre-busting as Malo, that’s a plus.

Raul Malo

Raul Malo

“When you record a holiday album, you don’t have to have an argument with the record company over what genre to market it in,” he laughed. “It’s Christmas.

“I wanted to make that album the Christmas album you’d play at a party. It’s fun and it didn’t take itself too seriously. But holiday music isn’t easy to play. It’s harder than it looks. I mean, how do you play a song like ‘Jingle Bells’ that’s been done hundreds of times.”

Of course, quandaries like that are the funnest part of being a musician.

The quandary he’s been facing on his latest tour behind his new CD, “Sinners and Saints” isn’t.

“We started this tour with the intention of playing a bunch of Christmas music, but it’s weird. Whenever we start playing it, people don’t want to hear it. I am hoping that since it’s getting closer to Christmas, people will be more in the holiday spirit.”

Malo will be performing December 12 at Anthology and he’s feeling a wave of inspiration coming over him in ways he didn’t expect.

“I don’t usually write on the road, but you never know when inspiration will strike,” he said. “The other night, I wrote three songs on ukulele – or at least the beginnings to three songs – between San Francisco and Bakersfield.

“When I write, I try to imagine myself as the listener and how I would react to it.”

Sometimes that means going out on a musical limb.

But not in the way you’d think. Where some musicians strive to be edgy, Malo has been a fan of kitschy music since the days he watched cheesy Elvis movies as a kid growing up in Miami.

“I admire the work,” he said. “They’re incredibly silly and contrived, but it’s hard to argue that there’s a person dead or alive who people are still talking about like Elvis.

“You know, it’s funny. When we were in the Mavericks, we would sit around and find these kitschy campy stuff and put these elements into the music.

“Take ‘The Lawrence Welk Show’: A lot of people might think it’s square, but every so often, he’d let the musicians just play and you’d see they were some of the best musicians around.

“Anyway, we’d put these elements in and people thought we were so edgy, but really what we were doing was making people listen to something that they normally wouldn’t hear – and that’s a good thing.”

WHAT: Raul Malo
WHEN: Sunday, December 12th, 2010
TICKETS: $15 – $30 BUY TICKETS
MORE INFO: Artist Profile