Raul Malo Readies “Sinners & Saints”

Former Mavericks frontman Raul Malo is getting ready to release his new album, Sinners & Saints. Self-produced in the singer’s home studio, Sinners & Saints is being touted as “the most intimate, honest and complex album Malo has made in an already distinguished career.” The album is set for a September 28 release on Fantasy Records/Concord Music Group. Sinners & Saints follows 2009’s critically acclaimed album Lucky One, Malo’s Fantasy debut.

Rooted in Malo’s lifelong connection to Latin music but infused with his wide-ranging love of country, blues, jazz and vintage rock ’n’ roll, Sinners & Saints combines sonic ingenuity with emotional sincerity.

In a departure from past projects, Malo took tracks from his home studio in Nashville to Austin, where he joined longtime friend Ray Benson at his Bismeaux Studios and finished the album with the help of Sir Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornado keyboard veteran Augie Meyers and guitarist Shawn Sahm, son of legendary Texas singer/songwriter Doug Sahm. The Trishas (Savannah Welch, Kelley Mickwee, Liz Foster and Jamie Wilson) provided background vocals.

Coming of age in Miami, Malo spent many nights in neighborhood music rooms listening to local artists perform their Flamenco zarzuelas. Malo wrote “Sinners & Saints” by conjuring up those nights in his head, and playing his electric guitar with a cross between Flamenco melodicism and retro surf-twang. “It has no chorus, no repeatable line,” Malo says, “And it’s long. Purposefully long.”

Along with original songs like “Living for Today,” “Superstar” and “San Antonio Baby,” Malo turns in distinctive cover versions of Rodney Crowell’s “Til I Gain Control Again,” Los Lobos’ “Saint Behind The Glass,” as well as songs from acclaimed songwriters Todd Snider and James McMurtry.

“This is the hardest I’ve ever worked on an album,” Malo says. “This really is about me and my point of view. I realized that after I’d done it. It reflects really how I feel about a lot of things. That’s why this is as much of me as I’ve ever put on a record.”

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