What a Crying Shame
Cuban-American Raul Malo's tenor is so exquisite it should be placed in the Smithsonian. On the Mavericks's third album, it leaps through pure honky tonk of "There Goes My Heart," sweetly warbles through the soft-stepping "Pretend," and practically yodels heartbreak on the traditionalist "Ain't Found Nobody." Heartbreak is at the core of What a Crying Shame, and Malo makes these confessions of pain an energizing, cathartic experience. With pure country joy and a sound that's polished without being slick, the Mavericks made a flawless country revivalist album. Everything shines here, from the rockabilly swing of "The Things You Said to Me" to "I Should Have Been True" to their cover of Springsteen's "All That Heaven Will Allow," which sounds so orgranic and true you'd think The Boss should don a pair of cowboy boots and learn to two-step.