New Latin-pop group Salvador received a 2001 Dove nomination for Short Form Music Video of
the Year for “Lord I Come Before You. Salvador has amassed successful airplay from their self-titled
debut, including positions in the top ranks of AC and INSP radio with their singles “Crucified” and
“Lord I Come Before You.”
When hot new Austin-based Latin band Salvador hits the stage, their Latin-infused pop sensibilities and youthful exuberance simply take over and leave no foot in the house still.
Born out of a makeshift praise and worship band of preachers’ kids, leader Nick Gonzales has no qualms in telling of Salvador’s humble
beginnings at their home church in Austin. “Sometimes our praise and worship leader would just not show up, and one day, my brother
dared me that if I’d play guitar, he’d play drums. I knew a total of two chords,” he laughingly admits. “When we began to play the first
Sunday, it was a pretty messy experience to behold.”
But a little perseverance and a lot of practice paid off. Before long, the trio of Nick, older brother Art Gonzales and cousin Josh Gonzales
had become Sunday regulars, leading their fellow church members in worship in a way that would make any preacher proud. This new
generation in a long line of charismatic preachers and singers proudly continued the tradition of making a joyful noise. As their
popularity at church grew, the talented group expanded their member roster and ventured outside of their church, taking their unique sound
around the coffeehouses in Austin, and soon to larger gatherings around the country. Eventually bigger and bigger concerts came their
way, including music festivals, youth conferences, and an invitation from evangelist Nicky Cruz to bring their musical fire to his
Salvador’s membership grew to include conga-player and percussionist Eliot Torres, who had previously played in another Austin-based
band, keyboardist Chris Bevins, a Nashville native and latin horn players Pablo Gabaldon and Billy Griego, whom the guys picked up at
a Promise Keepers Convention in Albuquerque NM.
An appearance at a gospel music festival in Lukenbach, TX, won the now local-favorites band a new fan–manager Michael Smith of Nashville, TN. Smith, who hadn’t even planned to attend the concert originally, couldn’t leave the room once Salvador started their set.
Captivated by the band’s raw talent and electric energy, he offered the wide-eyed Texas lads a management contract on the spot, and within
a mere two weeks, Salvador had also signed agreements with Myrrh Records, Word Publishing, and the Jeff Roberts booking agency. In
the year that followed, Salvador finished work on an independent live recording and performance video, taped at their city’s world famous
“Austin City Limits,” while Myrrh began the process of mining for the gold within them.
The first thing that struck me about these guys,” relates Myrrh A&R VP, Dan Posthuma, “was their authenticity–their heritage, their
music, their church. What they do is as real as it gets. And the music is just great fun to listen to.”
Fun indeed. Asked to describe their band in one-word, all seven chime in stereo– “Fun!” This is a band that takes its mission to inspire
others to lives of praise very seriously, but not themselves. These guys are never at a loss for a righteous good time, as Art explains: “I
think our mission statement is to help others know the same joy that we’ve found in knowing the Lord. Yes, life has its ups and downs,
but if God made people in His image, and there are funny people, then God must have a sense of humor! God calls us into joyful
relationship and freedom with Him, and I think so many people forget that and try to make the Christian walk something that’s boring
and hard. I think that living a ‘righteous life’ doesn’t mean you have to give up living it up. God wants us to enjoy Him and the life He’s
Ranging in age from twenty to thirty-six, the men of Salvador might like to party, but they are also truly your boy-next-door charmers.
The group’s striking young frontman, Nick, 23, grew up in the church and in fact, finds spending time with his pastoring parents one of
his favorite things to do. His brother Art, 30, gave up a full-time job, and even made a temporary move with his wife and four-year-old
daughter back into his parents’ home, to help start building the Salvador dream. Josh, 20, a cousin to the Gonzales brothers and fellow
PK, is another church boy, who considers faith, his family, and music to be the three most important things in life. Twenty-five year old
percussionist Eliot Torres adds a “Puerto-Rican” rhythmic flavor to his Mexican compadres’ sound, and shares his bandmates’ love for the
church. Keyboardist Chris Bevins, 24, who resides in Nashville Tennessee along with his wife, brings a fresh new concept of music to
the group. With an extensive jazz background, his love for the “Old School Sound” has given Salvador the added punch it longed for.
Thirty-six year old trumpet player Pablo Gabaldon and thirty-three year old Billy Griego bring the Latin-Brass sound to reality with their
lively stage presence and serious musicianship.
Together, the best friends of Salvador have created something of a phenomenon. Taking the popular musical sounds they’ve loved
(including a “Christian-music-only” house rule while growing up) and some of today’s hottest musical styles, Salvador brings the idea of
vertical pop music to a whole new level.
Produced by the Salvador-dubbed “producer extraordinaire” Monroe Jones (Third Day, Chris Rice, Margaret Becker, Ginny Owens, Wes
Cunningham, Mark Schultz) and the equally heroic Myrrh A&R vice president and producer Dan Posthuma (“we just knew him by name
at first ’cause he produced some of our favorite artists and albums!” Nick says), the debut album Salvador is a textured, lively and joyful
journey through a colorful world of musical styles. The album bids a decided nod to Salvador’s heritage with infectious Latin and Salsa
rhythms from south of the border. Soaring ballads; lead singer Nick’s gritty, imploring voice; snappy pop arrangements and sparkling
instrumentations belie the simple message behind Salvador.. They’re just here to praise the Lord. But be assured, there is more than just
church happening here. Salvador is an in-your-face, dare-you-to-dance, celebration of faith, hope and fun.
In Spanish “Salvador” means simply, “Savior.” “At first we were thinking of ‘The Jalapeno Brothers’ or ‘The JuJus’ as a name,” laughs
Nick, “but then we thought about how people always ask who you work for. This is a way for us to tell them. ‘Salvador’ is our God, and
He’s the reason why we do what we do.”
With such a high calling in their name, the members of Salvador are quick to explain the serious side of their musical lives. “We’re a
group, a band, we’re guys,” says Art, “and sometimes that combination can be disastrous. But we all grew up in the church. We know
what’s right and what’s wrong. Our parents taught us to give all the honor and glory to God and He’ll take care of the rest. And we believe
that God will.”
So it’s with that passion that Nick, Art, Josh, Eliot, Chris, Pablo and Billy begin their new adventure as Salvador. With hearts still set
on praising, worshipping, celebrating and dancing, the band excitedly awaits the broad new world of opportunities beginning to open for
them. But at the core, the dream is still the same: the joy of making music and the joy of sharing the love of the Savior who set them
free. “Just to hear that somebody heard our music and it touched their life,” explains Josh, “that’s pretty much it. That’s what it’s all
“Can you feel the Spirit moving?” Nick implores in the song, “Now It Moves.” Indeed we can.
The new group has performed at many high-profile events including 21 Teen Mania’s “Acquire the
Fire” Youth Conventions, “Promise keepers” conventions, Franklin Graham Crusades, Youth
Specialties conventions and others.
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