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The ‘perfect recipe’

SANTA FE, N.M. — Asked if there’s a way he describes his band’s style of music, Eddie Perez said that’s always been a difficult question to answer.

“It’s hard to describe it because describing it with the old terms doesn’t apply to what we do,” said Perez, guitarist and vocalist for The Mavericks, who famously have crossed genres for decades.

In a recent phone interview from a tour stop in Denmark, he noted that the group checks most of the musical boxes: jazz, Latin, ’60s rock ‘n roll, country. The band has a “nostalgic,” old-school feel, he said, inspired by beginnings for most members of the group in garage or high school bands.

Nowadays, as genres “collide” and cross-pollinate, Perez said it’s even more difficult to label music the same way it was 20 years ago.

“The way I describe what we do is more about feel,” he said about the band. “We make feeling music, we make joyous music.”

The Mavericks will perform at the Santa Fe Opera Monday night as a part of Santa Fe Music Week. The concert’s net proceeds will benefit the National Dance Institute of New Mexico.

Perez joined the band in 2003 before it broke up the following year, and he came back when The Mavericks regrouped in 2012.

Originally formed in Miami in the late 1980s, the band made six studio albums and won a 1995 Best Country Performance Grammy for “Here Comes the Rain” before the break-up. When The Mavericks resurfaced for a reunion tour about five years ago, Perez said, the intention was simply to come together and see how things worked.

“We’re not the kind of band that plays some oldie shows and walks away from it,” he said. “We’ve never been that kind of band or those types of people. We go into the unknown willingly. The initial thought was let’s see what happens, lets go into the studio, (frontman and band songrwiter Raul Malo) has some songs … and let’s see how it happens

“And I think, for this band, that seems to work,” Perez added. “That’s the trick; there’s not a lot of people who are okay with that notion.”

The group has released four albums since reuniting and most recently has been touring in support of the 2017 album “Brand New Day.” The record was nominated for a 2018 Best Americana Album and one of its songs, “I Wish You Well,” was nominated for Best American Roots Song. “Brand New Day” was also the first studio album The Mavericks made on their own record label, Mono Mundo Recordings, formed in 2016.

“We seem to be operating much more efficiently these days,” Perez said. “If there’s something we want to release just to release it … we can do it.”

The group is scheduled to put out an album of original Christmas songs in November and an all-Spanish album is also in the works.

Perez said Malo, in recent years, has opened up the creative process to include more of the team.

That hasn’t altered the group’s sound much – one reason for that is because they all musically come from those “old-school sensibilities,” Perez said – but it has revealed the possibilities of what collaboration can do.

“That allows other energies and other talents to show themselves,” said Perez. “It’s like a perfect recipe, you’re always trying to get it just right. With the music and energy, and what we’re trying to make … it comes from a joyous perspective first and foremost.”