The Caliente Column

Michael Salgado: Lefty
By Doug Shannon (

Though Michael Salgado is only 23 and his band has played together
for just four years, Tejano fans have welcomed this confident
newcomer as if he had been part of the onda family for decades.

His peers credit him with turning his generation on to the norten~o
sound identified with Ramon Ayala y Sus Bravos del Norte. Salgado's
casual fluency with both the Tejano and norten~o idioms has won him as
much respect in Monterrey as he receives in his hometown of Stanton,
TX. "Cruz de Madera" was so popular that it inspired an instant cover
version by Mexican duo Miguel y Miguel.

Despite Salgado's feat of playing a keyboard accordion left-handed,
his fingers a blur of motion, he said it comes naturally to him;
that's how he's always played it. And he insists that he's not double-

At the 16th annual Tejano Music Awards, Michael was the 15th and
final performer during the second act. Just minutes after playing
"Cruz de Madera" to 30,000 roaring fans, he remained modest, saying,
"It's the first time we've played at the Tejano Music Awards. It's an
honor just to be here."

Salgado is 3-for-3 on the charts--all of the singles that Joey has
released so far have had respectable runs on the Billboard Hot Latin
Tracks chart. His latest, "Sin Ella," from the album "En Concierto,"
debuted in the top 20 on April 13.

Salgado said the breakthrough success of "Cruz de Madera" is
attributable to two factors.

"The lyrics have a meaning that everyone can relate to, and Joey
Records did everything it could to get the song on the radio and
written about in the magazines," he said.

However, when Salgado performs "Cruz" live, a member of his crew
takes dozens of posters and flings them, one-by-one, into the crowd,
which of course begins stampeding this way and that in a mad effort
to grab one. Since "Cruz" is Salgado's best-loved song, it might be
better to let the crowd enjoy it and save the frenzy for another song.

Salgado insists that the poster-throwing during "Cruz" is a good
idea. "The people really enjoy that because it's somthing that fires
up the crowd," he said.

Though the band members don't do any booty-shaking, Salgado has
complete control of the crowd, who he captivates with his poise, his
singing, and his accordion playing. Most fans seem to go craziest for
Michael and his brother Ernie, the bajo player, but don't forget bass
player Joe Tanguma, drummer James Salgado, and sound engineer Joe
Medina, and the rest of their crew, who are essential to the success
of the band.