The heartfelt quaver and keening lilt in the singing of Raul Maio, the Cuban American frontman for Miami's Mavericks, is a remarkable sound: a striking blend of pathos, sensuality, vulnerability, and raw sexuality. Frequent comparisons to singers like Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley are no stretch. The third and most recent Mavericks album, What a Crying Shame (MCA), includes a sublime piece of pop craft called "I Should Have Been True" that frames Maio's luminescent, arching vocals with lushly arranged strings and melodramatic tympani rolls. The rest of the terrific record goes in less grandiose directions, masterfully achieving a 50s- and 60s-based but not time-saddled twang with the Buck Owens bite of "Just a Memory" and the more contemporary-sounding rock-touched title track. On Bruce Springsteen's "All That Heaven Will Allow," Maio's ever-impressive croon simultaneously softens the tune's edges and makes it seductively elusive. And a cover of Jesse Winchester's "O What a Thrill" just about drips with desire. It's clearly Maio's show--he's also the principal songwriter--but his support band offers unswerving, tasteful backing, direct and sharp. Friday, 8 and 10:30 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 525-2508.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jim Herrington.