Mojo (Publisher) (p.92) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[A] record that impresses right from its clarion mariachi trumpet opening, through to the album's finale, a reworking of Los Lobos' 'Saint Behind The Glass.'"
Audio Mixers: Sam "Lightning" Seifert; Raul Malo.
Recording information: Bismeaux Studio, Austin, TX; Nashville, TN.
Photographer: George Gutierrez.
Mavericks frontman Raul Malo pushed himself artistically with Sinners & Saints, his sophomore effort for Concord. Rather than find or write solid songs simply to put together an album, Malo looked at this set philosophically as well as musically and came up with the yin and yang implied in the title; the end result is a loosely constructed concept record. He wrote five of the disc's nine tracks and included covers by Rodney Crowell, Los Lobos, James McMurtry, and Todd Snider that fit into his plan. He demoed them in his home studio in Nashville on electric guitar, and then took them to Austin. He went to longtime friend Ray Benson's (Asleep at the Wheel) Bismeaux Studios. Malo also enlisted the help of Vox organ icon Augie Meyers (the Sir Douglas Quintet), guitarist Shawn Sahm (son of that band's legendary frontman, Doug Sahm), and Austin's newest singing sensations the Trishas (Savannah Welch, Kelley Mickwee, Liz Foster, and Jamie Wilson), who provided background vocals. The end result recalls the Latin sounds Malo heard during his childhood and adolescence in the '60s and '70s in Miami, and a twanged-out retro meld of surf and rockabilly.