When you ask members of Christian pop band
Salvador about their origins, you have to believe there
may be some truth in the old phrase, "Be careful what you ask
"My brother Art and I
grew up in a little church in Austin, Texas, led by my aunt and uncle and
parents," explains lead vocalist Nick Gonzales. "When I was 12,
we started complaining that we wanted music in our church. We didn?t
think they would even agree, much less decide that WE should be the
Before the year was out,
Art was playing drums, Nick had a guitar, their 8-year-old cousin Josh
Gonzales was starting bass lessons, and the church with no music suddenly
had a three-piece praise and worship band. Well?sort of. "I have to
admit we were pretty awful back then," Nick laughs. "But we kept
at it. I guess you have a reason to learn fast when you have to play in
front of people every single Sunday."
Recent history undeniably
proves that the guys learned those early lessons well indeed. Now in their
late teens and early twenties, Nick, Art, and Josh have combined with
fellow Austin musicians Eliot Torres on percussion and Jonathan Rangel on
Keyboards to produce a unique sound that maintains their praise and
worship roots and mingles with cutting-edge contemporary pop music.
Long a local favorite,
Salvador began by playing in area churches and coffee-houses, and soon
moved up to being the featured artist at major festivals like the
long-running Christ-fest in Austin and opening for noted evangelist Nicky
While playing at a Gospel
Music Festival in Luchenbach, Texas in the fall of 1998, the band caught
the attention of Nashville industry executive Michael Smith of Michael
Smith and Associates. "There were a lot of bands playing that night,
so it was hard to notice everyone," recalls Smith. "But when
Salvador took the stage, I knew instantly that I wanted to work with them.
I went from sitting in the back of the room to standing right in front of
the stage before they had even finished the first verse of their opening
recently led the group to record their first major studio project, Live in
Austin, a debut that is filled with talent, originality, and the rich
musical heritage of Salvador?s hometown.
voice has the gritty, soulful quality of the many back-alley musicians he
grew up admiring, while the rest of the band weaves a jaw-dropping blend
of rhythm and blues, Latin and pop music. The group uses a variety of
electric sounds, often mixing guitar with the tones of a Hammond organ,
and a wide array of other percussion instruments that add depth and
complexity to perfect pop melodies.
"Lord I Come Before
You," a song the group often opens with in concert, is a driving
show-stopper that is a pleading, yearning song for the presence of God in
a chaotic world. "Maybe Tomorrow," the song the group has become
best known for in Austin, uses a catchy hook and upbeat pop melody to
describe the joy God promises for the future. "People always ask us
for that song," says Nick. "I think it?s because it is so
positive and the happiness in it is contagious. We like to play it as much
as they like to hear it."
That joy and deep faith in
Christ has been the driving force behind the band, and hasn?t changed as
they?ve come across new opportunities away from their original days in
the church. The name, "Salvador," which means Savior in Spanish,
is a symbol of the image they want to portray. Nick says they chose the
name for several reasons.
"For one thing, the
word Salvador is a reflection of our Hispanic heritage, something we?re
very proud of. But more than that, it?s a symbol of what we do," he
explains. "People are always asking other people, ?What do you do?
Who do you work for?? We wanted our name to be an instant indication of
Who we work for, so that everyone will immediately realize we?re a
Christian band and we want to share the joy of our Savior. That?s what
the songs on Live in Austin are written to do."