Raul Malo

I went to Raul Malo’s CD release party this afternoon.  I drank mojitoes until I was good and tipsy and then I called Mack and sang “RAaaahooooolllll  RRRAAAAaaaahhhhooooolllll” to him.

I found it hilarious anyway.

Can we talk frankly, America?

Okay, it’s like this.  There appears to be no one in charge of Nashville.  Seriously.  If you go out on the town any night of the week, to hear country music being performed, you will hear someone on stage talking about how they make “real” country music unlike what’s being made in Nashville right now.  And everyone in the audience will cheer.

Okay, fine.

You find yourself drinking with some washed up old country star and you’re going to hear about how they just don’t make music like they used to.

Again, fine.

But here we are at BMI and the dude introducing Raul Malo is all talking about what a big event this is with folks from all the major studios and all up and down music row and how it just goes to show that when good music is being made, folks who like good music will show up to support it.

I call bullshit.

You cannot have a situation where the audience, the performers, and the music execs all seem to think that there’s some other, better music that’s not getting its due because of the pressures of… I don’t know.  I guess whatever group is not around at the moment so that they can be blamed.

If everyone really wanted different, better music, there would be different, better music.

Someone is buying what they’re selling.  So, why does the industry itself act ashamed of that?

In other news, even though I’d gone to a CD release party, sadly, no CD got released to me.

Malo had a beautiful voice and an infectious smile.  The songs they did sounded good.

Did I mention the mojitoes?  And all the big brown-eyed girls standing around me?

I think I need to swoon a little.

Now, where did I put that fainting couch?

14 thoughts on “Raul Malo

  1. Oh, you bait me so. Of course, I have nothing meaningful to add, since you’ve already said it. I know I’ve written about this several times before, but that third vodka and tonic seems to be affecting my ability to find where I’ve stashed those entries. Ah well. You already said it so well.

  2. The authenic is a receding horizon. It’s like Truth with a capital T. Out there somewhere…

  3. Admittedly, I know Jack about the Country Music Industry, and next to nothing about Country Music itself. But my TiVo has recommended some program about Johnny Cash’s feud with Music Row a couple of decades ago.

    I’m betting there are a lot of people who think it’s “maverick” to act like they, too, are having some sort of Feud With Music Row. It makes them feel special, and not like a bajillion other people who came to Nashville to make it big in the industry and now have their dreams reduced to singing at Caeser’s Ristorante on Thursday nights.

  4. Shorter explanation: everyone is still trying to figure out how to position themselves in relation to the ’90s, and worried about label consolidation.

    Longer version: uh, I have to leave for work.

  5. Raul Malo is extremely cool and you need to get his first solo album if you don’t already have it-“Today”. He is another of those effortless singers that make it look so easy. He is not easy to categorize, so the labels in Nashville have a hard time with him, but his talent gets them anyways. You should have heard his Valentine show with the Nashville Symphony this year.

  6. Like Kat I also know Jack about country music, but it sounds much like the indie rock scene. The “different, better music” of course is always that which is created by the person complaining (or representatives and/or fans thereof). Except of course that usually it really is neither different nor better.

  7. Raul Malo’s voice is unequaled in the music industry today. He has a genius level talent for writing music and lyrics and interpreting the classics in his own unique style. He doesn’t just “cover” a song, he puts his own mark on it and makes it his own…that’s talent. Because he continuously blurs the lines of different genres of music his music cannot be neatly categorized into a single genre. Since radio stations are categorized by genre record labels have difficulty marketing his type of music to mainstream radio. I think the music world would be so much richer and more diverse if we didn’t have these categories…If stations could just play what people want to hear…I think you are mistaken when you say “if everyone really wanted different, better music, there would be different, better music.” I know many, many people who are sick and tired of what is available to listen to on mainstream radio and instead are turning to internet stations, satellite radio or their iPods.

    Being a long time fan, I recently booked Raul Malo to play our Performing Arts Center here on the Central Coast of California…Promotion was a challenge because local radio stations wouldn’t play his music…but we didn’t let that deter us…we passed out flyers, copies of his CD and used word of mouth to publicize the show. We ended up selling it out! We packed the house with people eager to hear what all this buzz was about. After the show I was inundated with e-mails and folks stopping me on the street to thank me and tell me that it was the “best concert they had ever attended’. These compliments were always followed up by the question “How come we’ve never heard of this guy?” So, as I see it many people are missing out because of the way the music industry has decided to divide music up into neat little categories…if you don’t fit neatly into one of their categories you don’t get airplay, if you don’t get airplay, the majority of the world will not hear your music. Makes me wonder how many other great talents we are missing out on…

  8. No, no, no. I think you hit the nail right on the head. I was being snarky and should have been clearer about my snark when I said that “If everyone wanted different, better music, there’d be different, better music.” Radio stations and record companies have a lot invested in a certain kind of music that will deliver consistent, predictable numbers. It just makes me laugh and irritates me when they pretend like they’d give us good music, if only we wanted it.

    I’m a sucker for Malo’s voice because it reminds me of Roy Orbison and Dean Martin, rich and full and smooth.

  9. Yes there are good/great artists that don’t get airplay.
    As is the case with Raul, he’s a great talent that doesn’t get airplay, unless you count the 1 or 2 Maverick tunes that might get occasional airplay. It sickens me that radio, no matter the format, are afraid to work outside the box and not stick to a format that someone tells the dj’s that they have to play. It’s the same 7 songs that get played during rush hour traffic in the morning or afternoon drive time. By the time you hear it a few times, you’re sick of it anyways. Keep plugging Raul and other artists like him to your radio stations, maybe we can break the mold.

  10. Raul Malo is that most rare of creatures… a genuinely talented artist. When he sings a song whether his own composition or covering the classics of country and pop…the song is reinvented. He allows you to experience even songs you’ve heard a thousand times on another higher level.

    I sadly do not understand how it is some artists who are less deserving get so much airplay etc…but I know a really gifted singer like Raul Malo will always win the hearts of those fortunate enough to hear him sing!

    He is simply the best.

    I wish I had been at that party!!!

  11. Yes, I was there and a majority of the “industry” folks who were did nothing but talk to one another and numb themselves with the free drinks at the bar. Typical Nashville response to great music. Is it any wonder why record companies will soon be a thing of the past?

  12. Good thing Aunt B was drunk at the Raul Malo release party or
    she might have not gotten it that country music fans are
    the victims of the corporate demographics between the ages of
    20 and 35. Then we get the radio stations playing the same
    old cookie-cutter music all day long. I hardly turn radio on
    any more. Comeon’ Auntie B, do you stuff and go after the
    real villans here…the radio play lists. By the way, you’re
    definitely right about Raul Malo and the swoon couch.

    [mamadel–I moved your comment over here. I hope you don’t mind.–b.]

  13. OK, Auntie B….guess we’re on the same page after all! Loved your comment: “It just makes me laugh and irritates me when they pretend like they’d give us good music, if only we wanted it.” So true!!! Oh, and I forgot to say you’re also right about that infectious smile of his! Makes me swoon….along with his beautiful voice of course… ; )

  14. ‘Country’ is an odd genre. The radio chains insists that the demographic is women (only) from 18-40, give county stations one of the shortest (and slowest changing) playlists in the music business, and consistenly underplays women artists even within their demographic’s area of taste. Billboard, R&R, and other chartmakers, however, insist that ‘country’ includes not only radio artists but also older, femaler, and nichier artists, as well as any artist who ever played country music but has since moved on to some other genre. (And truthfully, if you were to ask me, I’d have to say that although the Mavericks were a country band Malo isn’t much of a country artist any longer. He fits into that final category of ‘country artists’ I mentioned.) The result is two sets of charts, with a fair amount of overlap but even more divergence.

    This all goes back to the ’90s and the huge, unexpected crossover success of Garth Brooks and (later) Shania Twain. Country (radio and labels) fell so much in love with the chances of huge airplay/sales that they pretty well weeded a number of identifiably ‘country’ musical elements out of the mix. By the late ’90s, the success of the Dixie Chicks (who had very publicly fought against the weeding out in their own music, and won) convinced labels that it was safe to put those elements back. Radio refused to go along (except for the Dixie Chicks), and that’s when the two sets of charts and definitions really started to diverge.

    Add to the mix the presence of the Opry (with its preponderance of older stars) in Nashville, and the short-lived (early ’00s) small-scale success of Nashville vanity labels signing alt-country acts (who brought in the ‘artistic success is equivalent to commercial failure’ ethos of punk and ‘the radio won’t play us because we’re the real deal and it isn’t’ ethos of college rock), and the mishmash is complete. Then you have to figure in the internet and the collapse of the album market.

    Absolutely every artist, label, and distribution medium associated with ‘country music’ gets to call itself the only real representative of the genre, and each of them can additionally point out how it’s picked on and victimized by the others. I tell ya, the indie wars are fun, but the country wars leave them in the dust.

Comments are closed.