On Stage: The Mavericks return to home away from home in Del.

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

The Mavericks

There are a lot of acts performing around the area on April 6 that have been making music for a long time — acts such as the Mavericks, Candlebox, Dan Navarro, the Nick Moss Band and Cry Cry Cry.

The Mavericks have roots all over, but the band has definitely found a “home away from home” in Delaware – especially the Grand Opera House.

The Grand Opera House (818 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-652-5577, www.thegrandwilmington.org), which has been the site of many well-received concerts by the Mavericks in recent years, will host the band again on April 6.

Only a handful of American rock bands that have been able to rise to the top and then remain there indefinitely. The Mavericks are one of those bands.

The band came together in Miami just over 25 years ago and immediately built a strong following with its eclectic mix of rock, country, Latin, rockabilly, standards and cowpunk.

Despite personnel changes, financial difficulties, internal conflicts, a few periods in limbo and a variety of other challenges, the Mavericks are still going strong more than a quarter-century later.

Recently, the group released its new studio album “Brand New Day” on its own label – Mono Mundo Recordings.

The current line-up of The Mavericks includes founding members Raul Malo (vocals) and Paul Deakin (drums). Jerry Dale McFadden has been the band’s keyboardist since 1994 and guitarist Edie Perez joined in 2003.

Coming off of a sold-out album release show at the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and a historic trip to Havana, Cuba to tape an upcoming PBS special, The Mavericks continue their trek from East Coast to West Coast in support of “Brand New Day.”

“We recorded ‘Brand New Day’ throughout the year in 2016 and we’re still working the album,” said Malo, during a recent phone from his home in Nashville.

“We split up the touring duties. Instead of hitting every place within a few months, we spread the tour out – for our own sake.

“We didn’t hit every place that we wanted. That also gave us time to go to Europe. We did a month over there and we’re going back this summer to do some festivals.”

“Brand New Day” keeps selling and keeps drawing new fans to the band’s camp.

“We recorded some of it a Capitol’s studios in L.A.,” said Malo. “With this record, instead of waiting for an entire batch of songs to be written, we’d book time in the studio as I wrote the songs. Then, we’d have time to tinker with them.

“I like to play some of the songs first before going into the studio with them. So, we’d sneak some into our live set along the way. Infusing new material into a set makes it fun for us.

“We have an interesting situation compared to most bands. Our fans really like to hear our new songs live. We can put a new song in the set and leave out one of our big hits and no-one will bat an eyelash.

“We find a good balance between old and new. We make sets lists that we like and we know audiences will like.”

“Brand New Day” represents a milestone for The Mavericks’ career. The collection is the first independent full-length studio release on their label, Mono Mundo Recordings.

The group chose to break away and become the sole overseers of their creative process, label and management and take full control of their long-standing career.

“It really came down to how the business was working for us,” said Malo. “Now, we’re able to work the way we want to because we’ve taken control of all aspects of our business.

“The way businesses are set up for a band like us, we can’t afford to be on a major label. It wasn’t working for us.

“With what we’re doing now, the power is in our hands to do what we want to do.”

This business model is especially important for a band whose music spans a wide range of genres.

“We’re a band you can’t describe,” said Malo. “Polka, Cuban, country, rock – we play it all but never call ourselves any of it. We were named the Americana Music Awards Duo/Group of the Year.

“We also earned two Grammy nominations — Best American Roots Song for ‘All Night Long’ and Best Americana Album for ‘Mono.’ We won our first Grammy in 1996 for Best Country Performance by A Duo or Group with Vocal for ‘Here Comes the Rain.’

“But, I never ever said we were a country group. From a general point of view, we’re just a rock and roll band.”

Fans of the Mavericks will be glad to know that the Mavericks are working on new recordings.

“We’ve been in the studio working on two albums,” said Malo. “We’re doing a Christmas album that will be released later this year.

“For next year, we’re working on a Latin album. We’ve been working hard on it. We want to start playing shows in Central America and Latin America with this incarnation. Back in the day, we only went to Brazil one time. So, we’re making it a priority.”

Video link for The Mavericks — https://youtu.be/ezv2q99BGK8.

The show at the Grand will start at 8 p.m. Ticket prices start at $35.

Another upcoming show at the Grand is Jeanne Roberston on April 7.

Candlebox Acoustic

On April 6, Harrah’s Philadelphia’s The Block (777 Harrah’s Boulevard, Chester, 484-490-1800, http://www.caesars.com/harrahs-philly) will host Candlebox Acoustic, featuring Brian Quinn, a guitarist from Philly, and Kevin Martin, lead vocalist and only remaining founding member of Candlebox.

Candlebox Acoustic does not mean that Candlebox is breaking up – or even slowing down slightly.

“We’re doing some shows as just a duo,” said Martin, during a phone interview Tuesday from his home in Los Angeles.

“Briand and I have played together a lot. He’s a Philly boy. We just do these acoustic shows for fun. We don’t like to always do band shows.

“Duo shows are a lot more fun than going out with a band project. And, it’s a lot easier. We do it two or three times a year – four-to-eight shows. We haven’t played Philly in a while, so we squeezed this show in before our shows in New York and Boston.”

For the past four years, Candlebox has been Adam Kury on bass, Island Styles on rhythm guitar, Brian on lead guitar and myself on vocals. The drummer situation is a never-ending source of confusion.”

Styles is the most recent member to join having come onboard in 2016.

“Candlebox hasn’t stopped touring since I joined in the summer of 2015,” said Quinn, during a recent phone interview.

“I picked up in the middle of a tour and we really haven’t taken a break since. We’re doing shows with the full band and we’re also doing this acoustic thing with Kevin and me.

“About three or four years ago, Kevin decided he wanted to go out and do an acoustic treatment of Candlebox songs. Occasionally, he’d do a duo with the bass player.

“When I joined the band, he pulled me in to do the acoustic thing. For the last two years, I’ve been doing all the acoustic shows with him.”

Candlebox is a band from Seattle, Washington. The group has released six studio albums, which have achieved multi-platinum and gold certification, as well as numerous charting singles, a compilation, and a CD+DVD. Formed in November 1990, Candlebox originally consisted of lead singer Kevin Martin, guitarist Peter Klett, bassist Bardi Martin, and drummer Scott Mercado.

When Candlebox was in its early days, Quinn was a young musician in Pennsylvania – and a devoted Candlebox fan.

In the late 1990s, Quinn moved from his hometown of Pittston (PA) to Philadelphia. Soon after arriving, he co-founded the Philadelphia-based rock band Octane (2000-2005). During this time, Quinn was named “Best Guitarist” in the Philadelphia region by the Philadelphia Music Awards in 2001 and 2004.

After five successful years with Octane, Quinn left the band to form a blues-based hard rock band that would later become known as Fosterchild.

Then, Quinn joined Candlebox a few years ago when the band needed to replace its guitarist.

“Kevin and I were labelmates when I was with Fosterchild,” said Quinn, who now lives in King of Prussia. “We met at a label showcase and stayed in touch after that.

“I played on two tunes with his side project Le Projet. When personnel changes started with Candlebox, he asked me to join the band.”

The acoustic shows reflect a different side of Candlebox.

“It’s very much like a storyteller’s situation,” said Quinn, who is a graduate of West Chester University. “It’s interesting for me – especially not being an original member. Their first album came out when I was in high school and I was a big fan.

“The acoustic show has its own feel. With electric guitars and amps, there’s a lot to hide behind. With an acoustic show, there isn’t. It really showcases the integrity of the writing.”

Candlebox fans are anxious for a new album – and so is the band.

“We keep wanting to get in the studio to do an EP but everybody’s schedule is so busy,” said Martin. “We have three days booked in the studio in May and the songs are ready. We’ll make a six-song EP and then release it on BandCamp. There will be no more physical product. The attention span of listeners is changing – even with our older fans. Less than 10 per cent of the fan base will listen to a whole album.

“We spent a lot of time making our last album and several months mixing and mastering. Then, at the end of the day , it only moved 25,000 units.

“The tour cycle for that album is done, Now, we’re gearing up for our 25th anniversary celebration of our self-titled debut album. We’re going to do two special shows in Seattle on July 21 and 22 with the original lineup.

“Then, with our current lineup, we’ll go out later this year and focus on the first album. We’ll play all the songs. But, unlike the anniversary shows, we won’t play them in order. We’ll also play around eight tracks from our other albums.”

Video link for Candlebox Acoustic — https://youtu.be/FsrXbuPVKAM.

The show at Harrah’s The Block on April 6 will start at 9 p.m. Tickets are $26.

Dan Navarro

Many, many music fans know Dan Navarro – not as a solo artist but as one-half of the popular duo Lowen & Navarro.

Lowen & Navarro was a songwriting team composed of David Eric Lowen and Dan Navarro, who met in Los Angeles, California, in the 1980s.

They wrote the song “We Belong,” which became a major hit for Pat Benatar in 1984.  They became active as a performing group in 1987. In 1990, they began to release a number of records of their own, including “Learning to Fall” and “Purpose.”

In March 2004, Lowen was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Because of compromises to his playing and singing, Lowen ceased touring.

The duo played its last shows in June 2009. Lowen died of complications of ALS on March 23, 2012 at the age of 60.

Now, Navarro is touring on his own – touring in support of his new album “Shed My Skin.” The tour will touch down locally with a show on April 6 at The Living Room (35 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 215-805-5279 www.thelivingroomat35east.com).

After a career spanning decades and a dozen albums with Lowen & Navarro, Navarro is releasing his first true studio-recorded solo album this spring.
Recorded and produced by Steve Postell, the album features Navarro (vocals, guitar, percussion) along with Postell (guitars), Jon Ossman (upright bass), Brendan Buckley (drums), Peter Adams (piano), Phil Parlapiano (accordion), David Glaser (mandolin), and Debra Dobkin (percussion).

“I was determined to write everything alone,” said Navarro, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from his home in Venice, California.

“It took some adjusting after writing for 20 years in a partnership. I went in with the 12 songs we used. The 12 songs include eight originals, a few obscure covers and a standard thrown in.”

Navarro’s career started as a songwriter — most often with Lowen — for artists as diverse as Pat Benatar, The Bangles, Jackson Browne, Dave Edmunds, The Temptations, Dionne Warwick, The Triplets, Marco Borsato, and Rusty Weir.

“I’ve been in L.A. since high school,” said Navarro. “I grew up in Calexico (CA) and went to UCLA to study music. I moved to L.A. in 1969. I’m 66 and I’m still living here.

“The thing about this run, it’s not a comeback tour. It’s what I do – and I keep doing it. I still have the energy to tour and do the drive. It’s just me.

“About 90 per cent of my shows are just me. It maximizes the finances. And, it’s easier to move around. I’m playing folk clubs so I can get away with solo shows. And, I never need to rehearse.”

Navarro has transitioned smoothly into a busy solo career over the past decade, touring nationally almost constantly.
He has a parallel career as a voice actor and singer in films such as “Pirates of the Caribbean 5,” “The Book Of Life,” “Rio,” “Happy Feet,” and “The Lorax” and TV work on variety of shows including “Family Guy” and “American Dad.”

“I’ve been doing solo work for 10 years now and I’ve got it down,” said Navarro. “I do close to 100 dates a year. I don’t see any need to retire.

“I do have to find new things to say. Our generation has to find a way to stay relevant. To do that, you have to say something worth hearing. I’m not trying to be hip – but, I want to remain relevant.”

Video link for Dan Navarro – https://youtu.be/H_uZGnqFlUc.

The show at The Living Room will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Nick Moss Band

Nick Moss is an American blues musician who has been releasing albums for 20 years.

The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling is celebrating its first release on Alligator Records release – “The High Cost Of Low Living” – with a support tour.

The tour arrives in the area on April 6 with a show at The Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com)

The album, which debuted at #3 on the Billboard Blues Chart, is a shining example of the classic Chicago blues ensemble sound that world class guitarist/vocalist Moss and master harmonicist/vocalist Gruenling have been generating for years.

Moss paid his dues gigging in Chicago’s rough and tumble West and South side blues clubs under the tutelage of some of the city’s greatest blues luminaries.

“Chicago is still my home,” said Moss, during a phone interview Monday evening.

“Today is a day off and I’ve been out fishing in Bradenton with (Florida blues musician) Doug Deming. No-one was hitting today. We were out fishing the reef for sheephead. All we caught was one snook at the end of the day.”

Fortunately for Moss, he doesn’t have any trouble reeling in fans with his hard-driving blues sound.

Moss has received 22 Blues Music Award nominations, including this year’s coveted Band Of The Year Award. New Jersey’s Dennis Gruenling, considered among today’s best blues harmonica players, has been nominated this year for the Blues Music Award for Best Instrumentalist – Harmonica.

“Music was always a big deal in our house when I was growing up,” said Moss.

“It was a pretty wide open palate – Mario Lanza, Dean Martin, Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Eagles. My dad was into early rock-and-roll and doo wop and my mom was into everything.

“I was around nine or 10 when I got my first guitar. I brushed it off at first because I didn’t have the patience to figure it out. My brother was 13. I’d sneak into his room and play his guitar. He caught me but didn’t get mad.

“Instead, he bought me a Silvertone Bass and Silvertone amp. He said that if I learned to play bass well, I could play in his band. He needed a bass player. He taught me how to teach myself.

“When I was in high school, we started going downtown and sneaking into these blues jams. We started going all in on it.”

But, a time loomed when Moss would have to choose between music and sports.

“When I was 18, I had scholarship offers from a lot of universities,” said Moss. “I was a state champion wrestler and an all-conference football player.

“Then, I had medical problems. I lost 80 per cent of my kidney and that ended my athletic career.”
Moss released his debut album “First Offense” in 1998. He has released 12 more since then – including “The High Cost of Low Living.”

On “The High Cost Of Low Living,” Moss wrote eight memorable new originals and Gruenling wrote two — all deeply rooted in the blues tradition with a touch of old school rock ‘n’ roll.

Produced by guitarist Kid Andersen and Moss and recorded at Rancho de Rhythm in Elgin, Illinois, the album is a joyous sonic blast of pure blues power.

The current line-up of the Nick Moss band features Nick Moss: Guitar and Vocals; Dennis Gruenling: Harmonica, Vocals; Taylor Streiff: Piano; Michael Weston Archer: Bass; and Patrick Seals: Drums.
According to Moss, “When the band and I get on stage, the music takes over. We can’t hold back and the energy just comes pouring out. We get carried away and the audience gets carried away with us.”

Video link for Nick Moss Band –https://youtu.be/oYN97vQUEYA.

The show at Sellersville, which has Mikey Junior as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $21.50 and $29.50.

Other upcoming shows at the venue are The Drifters & Cornell Gunter’s Coasters on April 7, Jack Ingram with Travis Meadows on April 8, “Inside F1 Racing Ft. Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs & Steve Matchett + Special Guest Mario Andretti on April 10, and Jason Eady and Kyle Swartzwelder on April 11.

Cry Cry Cry

Cry Cry Cry, which is performing on April 6 at the Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com), was a folk supergroup featuring Richard Shindell, Lucy Kaplansky, and Dar Williams.

The band released a single eponymous album of cover songs on October 13, 1998.

The album was a great success on folk music radio. Based on playlists sent to FolkDJ-L, it ranked as the fourth-most-played album by folk music DJs in 1998, the fifth-most-played in 1999, and remained in the top 250 through 2002.

The trio performed together on an extensive tour in 1999 with a focus on the songs from the albums. Fans of the three talented veterans raved about every show.

Unfortunately for those fans, it was a one-and-done project – almost.

The threesome performed on Sunday, June 18, 2017 at the Hudson River Clearwater Festival. It was the first time they had performed together in 18 years.

“Our friend Steve Lurie books many festivals, including the Clearwater Festival,” said Kaplansky, during a phone interview last week.

“He had booked me and Richard for shows in the past. He also had booked Dar for some shows. He asked if we’d do a reunion show for last summer’s Clearwater Festival. I think it was expected to be a one-off proposal.”

Instead, it developed into a 12-show, coast-to-coast tour this spring.

“We never planned on doing a tour – never planned on any more shows,” said Kaplansky. “Now, we’re out on a 20th anniversary tour.”

Many fans who missed seeing the first incarnation of Cry Cry Cry were caught off-guard because they never expected such a limited shelf life. As a result, they were left out in the cold.

Fans who pass up on seeing this incarnation when it comes to the Keswick could suffer a similar fate.

“We’re doing this tour and it will also be a one-off,” said Kaplansky. “We have no plans to tour again or do any recording.”

There is one memento to be had.

Cry Cry Cry just released a brand-new recording of the song “Cathedrals,” which premiered on Folk Alley. As always, it is a cover song.

“We’ve never written songs for this group,” said Kaplansky. “There are other people’s songs that we’re singing. We’ll also play some songs each of have done in our solo careers.

“We’re all playing guitars for these shows. Richard is also playing electric guitar and I’m playing mandolin on some tracks. When the three of us get together, making music is easy. It’s very natural.”

Video link for Cry Cry Cry — https://youtu.be/dSGo5VWkoZw.

The show at the Keswick Theater will start at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $35-$75.

Other upcoming shows at the Keswick Theater are the Fab Faux on April 7 and David Foster on April 8.

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