My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: The Mavericks – ‘Music For All Occasions’

MusicforAllOccasionsIn the wake of their landmark What A Crying Shame, the Academy of Country Music named The Mavericks Top New Vocal Group for 1994, and Top Vocal Group in 1994 and 1995. The Country Music Association followed suit, with Vocal Group honors in 1995 and 1996.

Amidst the praise from the industry, they released Music For All Occasions, in the fall of 1995. Co-produced by Don Cook and Ralo Malo, the LP peaked at #9 and contains two of the most beloved singles they’ve ever released.

The Malo and Kostas penned “Here Comes The Rain” peaked at #22. The mid-tempo ballad became an instant classic despite it’s lack of airplay, and won the band their lone Grammy – Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal – in 1996.

The catchy as hell second single “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down” was their most unconventional single to date at the time, with an unapologetic Tex-Mex vibe courtesy of featured accordionist Flaco Jiménez. The bright sing-along nature of the track, combined with Malo’s distinctive twangy vocal, helped the song soar to #13.

With The Mavericks’ biggest radio hit yet under their belt, MCA chose the astonishing string and steel soaked ballad “Missing You” as the final single. Despite another brilliant vocal from Malo, the track criminally stalled at #54.

Like “Missing You,” the majority of Music For All Occasions is a melting pot of 60s pop mixed with elements of the Nashville Sound and neo-traditional country. Album opener “Foolish Heart” is a prime example as are “One Step Away,” “My Secret Flame,” “Loving You” and “I’m Not Gonna Cry for you.” They also go honky-tonk with “The Writing On The Wall” and “If You Only Knew,” gifting listeners with rip-roaring pedal steel and a swinging attitude.

To make one more left-of-center statement, The Mavericks close the record with a cover of Frank Sinatra’s “Something Stupid.” A duet between Malo and Trisha Yearwood, the track features a Spanish-influenced lead guitar mixed with flourishes of harmonica. Like everything Yearwood graces, the results are outstanding.

Music For All Occasions is a revelation that moves the genre forward by bucking all popular trends, nodding to the past, and flawlessly executing on all fronts. The album brilliantly captures a group at the height of their prowess, creating magic at every turn. It pains me to think it sold roughly half of What A Crying Shame because this is music that desperately needs to be heard.

I urge everyone to seek out a copy. Music For All Occasions redefines the idea of essential listening and sounds just as fresh and exciting today as it did twenty years ago.

Grade: A+

3 responses to “Album Review: The Mavericks – ‘Music For All Occasions’

  1. luckyoldsun March 11, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    “Something Stupid,” which was done here by Raul Malo and Trisha Yearwood, is better identified as a cover of a Frank AND NANCY Sinatra record. Though the lyrics are a bit creepy for a father and daughter to be singing with each other, the fact is both Sinatras’ careers were quite hot at the time–with Frank having had a recent No. 1 with “Strangers In the Night” and Nancy having hit the top with “These Boots Are Made For Walking,”–so both received equal credit and attention.

  2. Ken March 12, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    “The Malo and Kostas penned “Here Comes The Rain” peaked at #22. The mid-tempo ballad became an instant classic despite it’s lack of airplay…”

    Say what? How can a song that did not receive enough response to even make the top 20 and has since been completely forgotten by most country fans from that era be an “instant classic.” After it left the charts the song was never was played as an oldie by most country stations. Part of the definition of a “classic” includes “…used to describe something that has been popular for a long time.” This song was never popular to begin with.

    “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down” was written by a woman whose boyfriend worked at a pillow factory.

    • Jonathan Pappalardo March 13, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      When I wrote about “Here Comes The Rain” being an instant classic I was thinking about it being iconic in The Mavericks catalog, not legendary as far as country music goes as a whole. When I think back on their 90s singles, “Here Comes The Rain” is one of the first songs that come to mind.

      In reality, none of their ‘hits’ are played on classic country stations at all. I doubt anyone in the generations following mine (I’m 27) even know who they are. Heck, I hardly knew who they were when they opened for Mary Chapin Carpenter at a local concert back in 1995. I also remember well seeing the video for “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down” on CMT a lot during that time.

      The most exposure I ever remember them getting here in Boston was in 1999 when WKLB had “Here Comes My Baby” in heavy rotation. I haven’t heard that track in ages, but I really, really liked it back then.

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