By SCOTT CUNNINGHAM // The Mavericks hit the Roseland in Portland on Saturday
Jerry Dale McFadden loves his job as keyboardist for The Mavericks.
And why wouldn't he? The band is making their best music ever and has laid the foundation for what should be an even rosier future.
Earlier this week, I spoke with McFadden by phone. He was in Santa Fe as the band was launching into their fall tour that brings them to the Roseland Theater in Portland on Saturday.
I caught the band last year when they hit Revolution Hall in support of last year's release "Mono" and was struck with how fantastic they are to see live, a vibe that the band accurately captured on the album.
"We've been trying to do most of the recording live in the studio," McFadden explains. "There's some freaky little magic that happens when we're all in the same headspace and playing together. I think it comes through fairly well on 'Mono' for sure."
The album garnered two Grammy nominations and the group won last year's Duo / Group of the Year category at the Americana Music Awards.
Not bad for a group that hit mega-poplularity status in the 90's, only to go on hiatus for close to a decade.
While on hiatus, McFadden took a long break from music and rarely performed. The one exception was a stint with Sixpence None the Richer, but most of the time was spent pursuing other interests.
"I ran a contemporary art gallery for nine years. Some of those years were years I was still playing with Sixpence, but most of the time it was my main thing.
"I'm not a visual arts maker, but I've been a collector and proponent for people living with art in their lives. I love to go to museuems and galleries when I have time. Sometimes that's one of the beauties of travel and playing music. I can spend my days doing things like that and play a show in the evening. It's a pretty sweet job for me."
McFadden's enthusiasm on stage is plain to see and made all the more enjoyable by his colorful stage outfits, one of which is for sale as a promotional item from the band.
"I love my job, it's kind of hard to even call it a job. When the band broke up, I literally stopped playing music. Coming back to it was like a renewed life in a sense. I forgot how much I love to perform."
"When we got back together, we said if we're going to do this, let's have fun and see where it goes. If it starts to not be fun, we won't do it anymore. So far, though, it has been fantastic."
That excitement and enthusiasm comes shining through on "All Night Live, Vol. 1", scheduled for release next month. The album features 16 tracks, primarily drawing from "Mono" and their 2013 release "In Time".
Placing their most recent music on the album was a deliberate choice for the band, as was creating their own label, Mono Mundo Recordings. With their mix of country, roots, and Cuban inspired sounds, The Mavericks have never been a band to fit easily into genres.
That, of course, makes it difficult for any niche label to market the band's music. The decision was also rooted in the financial realities of being supported by a label.
"What we found was that we could put (albums) out ourselves and sell the same amount of records without owing hundreds of thousands of dollars to a record company."
On April 7, 2017, the band will release a yet to be titled new studio album on the label as well. The band has bigger plans for the label, though, than just putting out their own music.
"We see in the future being able to put out records of people we love and are excited about. These things start small and sometimes they build into something bigger. It's going to be fun to see what happens."
In looking at the band's current positioning, McFadden says, "We're very excited to take matters into our own hands."
I wouldn't expect anything less from The Mavericks.
ON TOUR: The Mavericks perform at the Roseland Theater in Portland Saturday, Sept. 10 at 8:00PM. Tickets are still available as of this writing.