Andrew Salgado performs crowd-pleasing, acoustic "thank you" show

Andrew Salgado.

You might not be familiar with the Darien native yet, but I have a feeling that’s going to change after his first album is released on May 15.

“It’s starting to not look like a dream anymore,” the charismatic Salgado said during a chat before his intimate, acoustic show last Friday at Skokie Theatre.

Since beating out more than 6,000 entries from across the country to win the first-ever Pepsi Southern Original Competition in September 2013, Salgado has been touring, interviewing, writing and recording. He also moved to Nashville and has sbeen dubbed “America’s fastest rising country star.”

The Pepsi Challenge win launched him on a tour opening for big name country artists such as Toby Keith, Neal McCoy, Carrie Underwood, Clint Black and others. He also released his first single and music video last May, “Dance On,” which was produced by award-winning producer Jim Moose Brown and Darryl Worley.

He’s currently in the studio working on his first 10-song album. “We’re about half-way done now. We’re choosing what songs make the record.” Salgado said, pointing out that’s no easy task when he’s written about 200 songs.

Salgado said Friday’s rare acoustic show was a pre-tour, pre-record-release show to thank his longtime supporters. Many of those in attendance have already purchased his upcoming album through presales, which he said have generated about $18,000 including purchases from places he’s never played such as the UK, Mexico and Canada, he said.

“We just wanted to sell the record, which we did,” Salgado said, still amazed at the response he’s gotten.

Friday’s show started with a 30-minute warm-up by Chicago-based comedian Mike Ostrowski, whose long string of accolades include writing for Jay Leno, and opening for Jerry Seinfeld and Pauly Shore.

Salgado and his guitar then took the stage with Paul Cicciarelli, of Lagrange, on guitar, and Gary Victorine, of Western Springs, on steel guitar.

Salgado’s stage persona is energetic and engaging. His lyrics are from the heart. His voice unique.

“There’s no one that looks like me or sounds like me in Tennessee right now,” he said with a chuckle. He’s definitely got that going for him.

He played fan favorites including “Dance On,” Every Dog Has His Night,” “Love Will Always Find a Way,” and “My Family.” He shared the stories behind many of the songs and played new tunes from the record.

“Here’s one I’ve never played before. I don’t think you’ve even ever heard this,” he said to his mom and dad in the audience. “It’s about a couch we put on Ebay. About 15 minutes later, a guy came to get it, and I started thinking about all the things I did on that couch.”

After his next new song, “Why,” was very well received, he jokingly said, “Yeah, I think we should can that one.”

He interacted with the audience, took some song requests and even called a fan on stage.

“She’s tweeted my name and my songs 783 times,” he said calling Donna Buettner, of Cary, up to join him. He said she tweeted she wanted him to do a Keith Urban song. So he sang “Making Memories of Us” to an excited, blushing Buettner, who was wearing a Salgado “Love Will Always Find A Way” T-shirt.

“I was shaking so hard,” Buettner said afterward. “It was a highlight of my life,” she added.

Salgado’s second set brought more of the energy that is typical of his full band shows. He did some covers including “Friends in Low Places” and “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.” There was even some dancing in the aisles.

As a thank you to those who bought tickets for Friday, Andrew said they would all receive admission to his May record release party, which was met with a big round of applause.  The date and venue has yet to be announced, but he said he will be back in Chicago May 9 to16. He will then embark on a three-band tour of 12 states September through November. Skokie Theatre has already booked him for an October date of that tour.

After the show, Salgado hung out in the lobby to talk to his fans, sign autographs and take photos.

One of those fans was Alyssa Mansfield, 17, of Geneva, who had enjoyed the show from the front row with her mother, Melanie Masino.

“I was interning at ABC Studios when he was on Windy City Live two summers ago…I’ve been to every show since,” Mansfield said. Why does she like Andrew so much? “He’s really nice. I can relate to his music, and he has a unique voice. He sang to me on my 16th birthday at Ballydoyle (an Irish pub restaurant in Downers Grove).”

“We booked her party there because he was there,” Masino said.

“And I got these tickets for my birthday this year,” Mansfield added.

Beaming with pride after the show, Andrew’s dad said watching his son perform on stage to the crowd is “a little surreal for me.” Annivar, a musician himself with a band that gave Andrew his start, said he’s proud of his son as a musician, “but moreso of the man he is. He’s a great kid. People like him.”

“You have to thank God every day…so many people go through life not liking what they do. When you can make a life doing what you love to do, that’s living,” the senior Salgado said.

And Andrew is poised to do just that.

“It’s not a hobby anymore,” Salgado said. “This will be a big year.”

I give Salgado’s show a five-guitar rating and look forward to his album release party in May.
Five Guitar Rating

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Filed under: Concerts

Tags: Andrew Salgado, Skokie Theatre

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