It’s no wonder why the group’s latest effort Con Poder (its debut all-Spanish language project) is met with great anticipation following the public’s overwhelming appreciation of English language endeavors Salvador and Into Motion. Many will recall those two projects spawned a sea of infectious selections, from the aromatically explosive “Lord I Come Before You” and “Breathing Life” to the worshipful adoration of “Cry Holy,” “Crucified,” and “City on a Hill.” Besides earning plenty of airplay action, the strengths of both projects kept Salvador on the touring trails, averaging 200 concerts a year in front of such enormous audiences as Billy and Franklin Graham crusades, Promise Keepers outreach events, and Acquire the Fire conventions.
Like the two projects that preceded, Con Poder’s seamless translation to the performance realm has an incredible ability to keep the band thriving on the road. “The feedback has always been encouraging and people are really getting into the new stuff,” verifies lead vocalist/guitarist Nic Gonzales. “We wake up everyday and seek continual improvement in what we’re doing, constantly trying to make the interpretation of these songs better and the show more explosive.”
Whether in the corporate or individual settings, the ten Con Poder tunes speak of the all out joy that a relationship with the Lord can warrant, along with ways we can lean on Him in times of disarray. In terms of the elation category, expect the horn-driven dance jaunt “Alegr í a” to put a smile on your face while the mouth-watering melodies and brass explosion during “Montaña” reminds listeners about faith’s enormous power. The breezy Salsa shuffle “Día A Día” is another spirit lifter, calling all to take up their crosses for Christ on a daily basis, with the bubbly brew “La Palabra” reassuring all that God is the only one who can fill the void of worldly emptiness.
Besides connecting with audiences on musical and lyrical levels, the record also has an uncanny ability to reconnect members with their ethnic roots. “It’s been a growing itch for a long time to do something like this because it’s our culture, it’s how we all were raised,” admits Nic. “We wanted to make a record that all our fans could appreciate, but to also fill the need for quality music that Christian Latin people could enjoy and pass on to their non-Christian friends.”
The initial inkling started as simply a reworking of Salvador’s pre-existing English songs from both the self-titled and Into Motion discs into Spanish, but half-way through the arduous process, Word/Warner label president Barry Landis approved a productive direction change. Seeing how simply re-recording past songs with language translations didn’t really tip the creative iceberg for these prolific genre stretchers, Landis told Salvador “if we’re going to do this, let’s do it full out,” granting the band the artistic liberty to start from scratch. “We could have probably done fine releasing the record the way we originally planned, but we wanted to give the Latin people more than that,” explains Nic. “Barry was all about us making this big and going all out with the style and sound and we were all for kicking it up a notch.”
Following through with that opportunity, Salvador recruited some of the most respected names in the AUSTIN scene, including the Salsa band leader/arranger and producer, Carlos Sosa and songwriter extraordinaire, Steve Coronado (known for his contribution on “Alegría”). Standouts of the band’s ensuing ethnic explorations range in tempo and tone, from the traditional approach to the Spanish church standard “Con Poder,” to the instantly familiar Latin dance beats of “Montaña,” to the serenading balladry of “Siempre.” In doing so, the group successfully walks the delicate line between cultural authenticity and general audience accessibility.
“The cool thing is you don’t have to be from this particular heritage to enjoy what’s going on,” exclaims Nic. “Latin people can see their culture brought out in the music, though it gives people from any background the chance to check out and hopefully appreciate something different. Part of what we’re most thankful for as a band is the fact that we’re connecting with people from all walks of life and they’re getting what we’re trying to do regardless of the language.”
Despite Salvador’s uncanny ability to do just that, coupled with its seasoned Con Poder sessions, performance professionalism, and members’ vast array of individual talent, these fellas’ feet are planted firmly on the ground and their work ethic is actually stronger than ever. As has been its tradition, Salvador will once again hit the road following the record’s release and rack up an array of inevitable attention, though the guys won’t allow that to even minutely inflate their egos.
“The temptation for someone who’s referred to as an artist is to start feeling above others and that they have to look and talk a certain way to maintain their image,” reveals Nic. “We’ve been blessed to have gotten Salvador’s name out there and have been treated very well in the process, but to be honest, I don’t even consider ourselves a group of artists. We’re really just a group of brothers who are just trying to be a working man’s band. We go out there and pour everything into our sound in hopes that God can move though it.”
In the end, Con Poder is not only Salvador’s resplendent example of that philosophy, it’s a triumphant mechanism that blurs genre boundaries, breaks down racial lines, and shatters denominational walls—true reasons to rejoice indeed.