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Countdown to Fiesta: Salgado fuses traditional sound with country flair

Latin Grammy and Tejano Music Award-winning artist to be featured in this year's Fiesta Mexicana


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Born and raised in west Texas, Michael Salgado is one of the most well-known singer/songwriters in the Norteno genre of music. He will be one of the featured artists in this year's Woodburn Fiesta Mexicana.Michael Salgado is a Latin Grammy and Tejano award-winning singe/songwriter.

He’s known for his accordion (which he plays left-handed), for his high-octane live performances and for introducing the classic sound of Norteño music to younger audiences.

And, on Aug. 2, he’ll be bringing his signature sound and style to Woodburn.

Salgado’s featured Saturday evening performance is expected to be one of the top draws of this year’s Fiesta Mexicana, presented by Country Financial.

Though the Texas-based singer has been performing shows in the Pacific Northwest at least once annually since he began touring regularly in the mid-90s, this will mark his first appearance in Woodburn.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Salgado said during a recent phone interview. “There are lots of fans out there.”

Salgado grew up in west Texas, in a handful of small rural communities with names like Little Odessa, Schneider and Hick Springs. His father was a farmer, who “kind of went from one town to the next.”

“I grew up as a farm boy, driving tractors when I was 11 years old,” Salgado recalled. “It was a different life,” though probably not all that unfamiliar to many who were raised on or near farms in the Willamette Valley area.

Also a musician, his father loved to strum his guitar whenever he got the chance, whether at a local honky-tonk or a small gathering of family and friends. He had his own band, for which Salgado was a frequent guest star, even at a very young age.

“I remember when I was very young — 7, 8 years old — I would get up there and sing with him,” he said. “My dad just kind of noticed that I had an ear for music and I was very interested in it.”

In his early teens, he learned to play the bass, and he became part of the band on a more official basis. His father played a lot of traditional Spanish music, but Salgado — having grown up in Texas before Spanish-language stations were very widely available in the U.S. — also had an ear for a different kind of music.

Instead, his musical tastes had become acclimated to classic country: Merle Haggard, George Strait, Ricky Skaggs, George Jones, Ronnie Milsap and the like.

It became a bit of an asset for the band.

“We’d be playing at these little bars, and if they asked for a country song, they’d have me play one,” Salgado said.

When he went into the music business for himself, his father remained one of his main inspirations, alongside the legendary Ramón Ayala. Nicknamed the “King of the Accordion,” Ayala’s mastery is what led Salgado to first try his hand at the imposing instrument.

“He’s definitely one of my big influences,” he said. “I wanted to play accordion like him — that’s why I started messing with it.”

Salgado recorded his first album in 1989, but it wasn’t until several years later that he achieved his first major success with the 1995 single “Cruz De Madera.” His “Ya No Voy a Aguantar” in 2001 was a No. 1 Tejano hit and was named Song of the Year by the Tejano Music Awards.

In 2007, he won the Latin Grammy Award for Best Norteño Album for “En Vivo.” He has since released several albums under his own independent label, Zurdo Records.

For more information about Michael Salgado, visit his website at www.michaelsalgado.com or find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Salgado is scheduled to perform at 8:45 p.m. on the Fiesta’s main stage in Legion Park. For the complete entertainment schedule of Fiesta Mexicana, or for other information about the annual celebration, visit woodburnfiestamexicana.com.

Tyler Francke covers all things Woodburn. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-765-1195.




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