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Raul Malo: 'You're Only Lonely'

You're Only Lonely, Raul Malo's new solo album of dreamy, romantic cover songs, takes its title from the 1979 J.D. Souther classic that was inspired by Roy Orbison. It's a fitting match because Malo's voice has also been compared to Orbison's.

"That was part of the trick of doing this record," says Malo, who was the lead singer of the country-hybrid group The Mavericks. "These songs, they're so iconic, that you want to pay tribute to them, but you also want [to do] them your own way."

Orbison isn't the only music giant whose spirit infuses the CD. Malo also records a version of the Etta James standard "At Last."

"That was the scariest one of all of them," Malo says. "When we were doing research for the album, we found that there weren't that many male versions of that song. And so we thought, 'Well, we have that in our corner.' Let's try it in a different key.

But Malo resists comparisons to the blues legend.

"I'm not going to outperform Etta. I'm not going to out-Etta Etta."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.