Miami was a different place in the 1980s. Tales still trickle down detailing the flashy drug trade, government corruption and booming development that created a hedonistic wonderland for anyone with the cash and zeal to play along. Of course, there were other sides, too, ones less glamorous and with negative consequences; but the stories that linger are most often embellished and romanticized.
When Miami-born singer-songwriter Raul Malo and Kansas City-born bassist Robert Reynolds came together in the late 1980s with the idea to start a country band, it seemed two sides of the story were ready to collide. A country band in Miami drew up some unpaired imagery: a campfire made of lasers, cowboy boots in the sand, Lamborghini rodeos; but it was the absurdity of the whole thing that created such a niche for the newly banded pals.
The Mavericks, with its Cuban-inspired "neotraditional" country singing and songwriting and rockabilly orchestra, became something of an attraction for curious locals.
The band became popular in Miami's alternative scene, sometimes opening for Marilyn Manson, before signing with MCA Nashville in 1991.
The group had released two albums with MCA to little acclaim when its 1994 effort, "What a Crying Shame," sent shockwaves through the stiff and somewhat guarded worlds of country and alternative music. The album went platinum in the U.S. once and twice in Canada, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard charts and bringing home two Academy of Country Music awards for New Vocal Group and Vocal Group.
That album's successor, 1995's "Music for All Occasions," went gold in the U.S., platinum in Canada, and earned a best vocal group Grammy, ACM award and Country Music Association award.
The Mavericks released two more albums between the late '90s and early 2000s before calling it quits in 2004, only to reunite eight years later.
The quintet's latest album, "In Time," was released late last year and an international tour was soon underway.
The Mavericks will perform Thursday at the Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St. Tickets range from $37.50 to $77.50 and are available at the Music Hall box office, Monster Music and Movies & Cat's Music, online at Etix.com or by phone at 1-800-514-3849. Doors open at 7 p.m. with the show starting at 8 p.m.
Call 853-2252 or go to CharlestonMusicHall.com.
Unknown Hinson is the self-proclaimed "King of the Country Western Troubadours."
Not much else is known about the eerie, vampire-ish man. He wears vintage cowboy costumes reminiscent of a villainous rancher in early Western films with slicked-back hair and fangs, all while singing audaciously hilarious, surprisingly well-written and expertly performed psychobilly tunes with titles such as "Peace, Love and Hard Liquor" and "I Ain't Afraid of Your Husband."
Unknown Hinson is, of course, an alter ego for North Carolina native and musician Stuart Daniel Baker, but where's the fun in that?
Unknown Hinson will perform Friday at the Music Farm, 32 Ann St., to support his 2012 release, "Reloaded." Tickets are $15 in advance, $17 the day of the show, and are available at the door or online at Ticketfly.com. Doors open at 8 p.m. with the show slated to start at 9 p.m.
Go to MusicFarm.com or call 577-6989.
Thomas Wynn and The Believers
There's an endless crowd of working bands and singers out there, a virtual sea of musicians and singers bobbing in the waves of obscurity, most never to be noticed by the masses. It takes something special, or some incredible good fortune, to stand out.
But when a band or artist comes along with that "thing," they can be found, for a short time, in the same small clubs, bars and restaurants that make for memorable performances.
Thomas Wynn and The Believers is that band, the proverbial beacon shining through the surrounding darkness.
Relatively new to the scene, the band consists of siblings Thomas and Olivia Wynn and a cast of veteran musicians. The group's independently released debut, "The Reason," came out in 2009 and helped land the band on stages alongside acts such as Drive-By Truckers, Gov't Mule, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Charlie Daniels.
The style is nothing new: Southern rock with a lot of soul, hints of gospel and plenty of blues. But its execution is what sets the group apart.
Thomas Wynn's gut-wrenching growls ascend into perfectly pitched high notes, while sister Olivia softens the rawness with hallowed-like harmonies that soar sweetly above the pain in her brother's roars.
The band is touring in support of its sophomore album, "Brothers and Sisters," released in 2012.
Thomas Wynn and The Believers will perform at the Pour House, 1977 Maybank Highway, Saturday with Bloodkin. Doors open at 9 p.m. and the show is set to start at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 the day of the show, and are available at the door or online at CharlestonPourHouse.StrangerTickets.com.
Go to CharlestonPourHouse.com or call 571-4343 for more information.