Keeping the Faith
- Tuesday, January 11, 2005
While he certainly has that insatiable charisma to rev up crowds night after night from stage and the kind of magnetic, movie-star smile that probably leads to a few school-girl crushes as a result, Salvador’s Nic Gonzales doesn’t seem to have the usual, commanding front man persona down. When it comes to his demeanor, he’s definitely no Jack White or Mick Jagger. Instead, he’s a little more reserved, even a little shy at times — especially when talking about his contributions to the band’s long-standing reputation as one of Christian music’s most electrifying live acts.
“You know it’s one of those things where you do the best that you know how to do and hope that people still keep believing in you,” Gonzales says. “The guys make it really easy. It’s one of those true privileges in life to be able to have such a great band. I am still honored to be able to do what I do. I am a little more comfortable than I used to be; but at the same time, I’m still humbled by it all.”
Now more than two-and-a-half years after Salvador’s self-titled major-label debut, the road warriors, who’ve logged thousands of miles by tour bus from coast to coast, have released four albums (with combined sales of more than 240,000 units), including two studio efforts, a Spanish-language album ("Con Poder," for which the band won a 2004 Dove Award for “Spanish Language Album of the Year”) and a live disc. And with this newest release, "So Natural," the band — which includes Gonzales, his cousin Josh on bass, keyboardist Chris Bevins, trumpeter Pablo Gabaldon, guitarist Joel Cavazos, trombonist Jared Solis, percussionist Estaban “Chamo” Lopez and drummer Robert Acuna — set out to do something rather ambitious. Instead of keeping the music spiffed up with lots of studio polish, the band hoped to capture the same frenetic energy of a Salvador live show on songs that addressed more everyday life issues than the more straight-forward praise & worship leanings of albums past.
“When I started writing songs for this record, I wanted to actually bring things to mind concerning the simplicity of living everyday life and how complicated that can be,” Nic says. “I love praise & worship music, and I hope that everything I do will be viewed as praise & worship. But there are a couple songs we sing that we felt like were talking to individuals who may be ‘down and out’ or not feeling loved. I think that we just wanted to talk to the body of Christ a little more this time.”
And not only does the CD have more of that live sound the band intended this time around, but there’s also more of a distinctive blues and modern rock feel throughout that adds extra layers of flavor to its traditional Latin sound. That brand of musical accessibility particularly shines on Salvador’s cover of the Top-40 smash “Heaven” by fellow Texans Los Lonely Boys. “It’s such a great song, and the guys who wrote it are just kind of everything that we love about music,” Nic says. “Obviously, with them being Hispanic, they play some Texas guitar swing and blues. And I think we were also drawn to cover it because they wrote a song that I believe touched the nation. We started talking about it, and we said, ‘Man, we gotta sing that!’”
Now that the song has a home on "So Natural," has Los Lonely Boys had an opportunity to hear it Salvador-style? “Yeah, they have actually,” Nic nonchalantly offers. “They were actually in Australia when we e-mailed the MP3. Apparently, they got a really big kick out of it — thought it was the ultimate flattery, I guess. They’re just cool guys; if you’ve ever watched them being interviewed, they’re super nice people. Hopefully we can do something together in the future.”
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