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The Mavericks | Hey! Merry Christmas!

Raul Malo and his Tex-Mex amigos throw a party on their first Christmas album.

One year I spent Christmas in Texas. When I got up on the big day, the sun was shining, the grass was green and the mercury was already climbing fast. I put on my shorts and T-shirt and went for a stroll down to the liquor store on the corner — where I watched a saxophone player in a Santa suit and sunglasses blowing rockin’ versions of carols for the passing traffic. None of that really has anything specific to do with The Mavericks’ first holiday album. But it was the first image that popped into my noggin when I listened to the disc — chiefly because Hey! Merry Christmas! delivers the same instant-gratification hit of rebelliously raucous abandon and unbridled upbeat joy. As befits its title, this is a spirited, fun-loving affair that grabs your attention and holds it for the duration, thanks to the band’s typically spicy, fast-paced blend of Tex-Mex, rockabilly, blues, jazz, roots-rock, Americana and more. If all that energy and enthusiasm isn’t enough of a change of pace from your standard holiday fare , there’s also this: Raul Malo and co. wrote eight of these 10 numbers, ensuring you won’t have to listen to yet another just-shoot-me version of Jingle Bells this year. So Feliz Navidad and we’ll catch you down at the liquor store. Don’t forget your sunglasses. It’s gonna be a scorcher.

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