Michael Salgado recently stopped by the Rio Grande Valley last week to perform at Frontera Vivo Bar in McAllen.
"It was good," Salgado said about his experience. "We had a lot of people come out, a lot of loyal fans."
He shared the celebration of his 43rd birthday on Saturday, April 5, by posting a photo for the 134,648 fans that "liked" his official Facebook fan page. He stresses that it’s very important for him to have a social media presence.
"Come by and like my fan page," Salgado said, noting he’s also on Twitter and Instagram. "(With this) you’re able to stay in contact with the fans on a day-to-day basis. You let them know what you’re doing, what you’re eating, what time you woke up."
Via these platforms, Salgado feels that he is able to maintain a connection with fans all around the world.
Salgado’s dad enjoyed listening to Los Relámpagos del Norte and that’s how his kid — from Big Spring, Texas — first got exposed to a style that would influence him to this day.
"I really liked the style," Salgado said of the Ramon Ayala and Cornelio Reyna duo. "The way he played the accordion, the voices, everything. It’s just a style of music that I really enjoyed listening to."
Traces of that style can be heard in his latest single titled "Nada Es Eterno."
Salgado said that by the time he was 9, he was already singing with his father, who had his own conjunto. He started to play the accordion a few years later.
A large percentage of tejano, conjunto and norteño accordionists use the three row, button diatonic accordion. There are a few that differ from that norm. Salgado is one of those anomalies. He has stuck with the piano accordion throughout his career.
"My dad used to play the piano accordion, so that’s what was there at home," Salgado said."I learned it, and that’s the instrument that I just stayed with. I picked up a couple of times, here and there, the button accordion, but I got used to the piano accordion."
Other notable piano accordion players in these genres include Bruno Villareal, Agapito Zuniga and Herbie Lopez.
Salgado said he was self-taught. He is left handed, thus he plays the accordion in a manner that appears "upside down." To his loyal fanbase, he’s come to be known as "El Zurdo de Oro" ("The Golden Leftie").
"It took a while," Salgado said. "Back then, when I was younger, I had a good ear for music. So I would listen to what Ramon Ayala was playing on the accordion, so I would try to learn it."
He has never forgotten the big role that Ayala and Reyna’s music have played in his career. In 2012, he releasedHomenaje a Mis Idolos (2012) to pay tribute to both his idols.
Salgado recorded two CDs before he really broke out from the pack. A cousin of his brought the song "Cruz De Madera" to his attention. The tune had previously been recorded by Ruben Ramos, as well as other artists. His cousin suggested that he cover it with his own style.
He started working on the song, and then tried it out at local bars where he was a regular. Soon the patrons there would request the song. That was an early sign of the success that was to come for Salgado.
"I recorded it, that’s pretty much when it became a mega hit," Salgado said. "It established my name in the music business."
Since then, he’s recorded, what he estimates to be, about 25 to 30 CDs. To people in the Valley, one of his most famous collaborations was with Elida Reyna in 2008.
Salgado remembers meeting her at a club in Houston and being impressed with her talent.
"I always liked her music. She’s got a great voice," Salgado said. "Later on, as time passed, we became friends. Once I was with Freddie (Records), they talked about us doing something together. We did ‘Quedemos Como Amigos.’"
The dramatic song currently has more than 900,000 views on YouTube. Salgado and Reyna were asked to perform this duet at the 2009 Latino Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C. Salgado considers it one of his career highlights.
"It was a great experience," Salgado said. "We’re hoping to do something again in the future. I really like her music, and I admire her as an artist, as well."
Looking back at his career, Salgado has dabbled with country music, and has been labeled as both a tejano and norteño musician. He doesn’t think one specific label really defines what he does.
"I just view myself as an artist who is versatile and likes to try new things," Salgado said about his career in music.
This past February, Salgado released his latest album Nada Es Eterno. He describes it as being original and having a variety of flavors. This album marks the fourth release on his label Zurdo Records. The 11-track collection features a bonus country song, as well as the debut of Salgado’s son, Andy Salgado.
"Hopefully I’ll do more projects with my son," Salgado said. "He was very happy, excited, he’s ready to record the next album."
Nada Es Eterno is available at select music stores, and online outlets like Amazon.com.
To those who missed him earlier this month, Salgado assures his fans in the Valley that he’ll be back very soon. While no official date has been publicly announced, Salgado said that he plans to be back here in July.
"I’ve been coming out (to the Valley) for nearly 20 years," Salgado said."Looking forward to working a lot more years out there in the Valley."