For the 30th installment of his group’s ongoing “Quarantunes” series, the Mavericks’ frontman Raul Malo takes a solo turn for a cover of Sam Cooke’s classic anthem “A Change Is Gonna Come.” In previous installments, the band has tackled songs by Neil Diamond and Simon & Garfunkel in addition to their own songs.
In the video for his cover, Malo stands outside the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., strumming his acoustic guitar for an intimate, gentle interpretation. It’s an appropriate backdrop for the song, which Cooke wrote in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Years later, the song’s weary-but-undefeated optimism retains its power: in Malo’s case, he’s been openly critical of the Trump administration and the hostile environment it has fostered.
The Mavericks recently experienced a first-hand glimpse of how hostile things can be. The group’s trumpet player Lorenzo Molina Ruiz and another man suffered injuries after an altercation in a Nashville-area bar turned violent. Police have been investigating the incident, in which Ruiz claims he and his friend were attacked because they were speaking in Spanish to each other.
In August, the Mavericks released their first all-Spanish album, En Español. The collection includes several original songs as well as Spanish-language classics that nod to Malo’s Cuban-American upbringing.