Curtis Salgado bringing blues to Walla Walla

Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writerMay 31, 2013 

Curtis Salgado's philosophy is that blues is more than a sound you hear -- it's a feeling fed by the soul.

Salgado brings his bluesy sound to Sapolil Cellars in Walla Walla on June 6.

"Blues is kick-ass Americana music," he told the Herald in an phone interview. "I love it."

Salgado lives on the rainy side of the Cascades in the Willamette Valley near Portland and is anxious to get back to the sunny side, he said.

"I'm really excited to get back to Eastern Washington," he said. "I love performing over your way. The people are great and, naturally, the weather is always nice."

Salgado has been playing music since he was a teenager living in Eugene. He was playing in a nightclub in the 1970s while the movie Animal House was being filmed in that city and met the film's star, John Belushi.

Belushi fell in love with the music Salgado played that night and asked Salgado to teach him how to perform it.

During their long association, Salgado said he learned from Belushi that Dan Aykroyd had been trying to convince him to do a skit on Saturday Night Live involving blues, but Belushi wasn't interested.

Belushi changed his mind when he heard Salgado play. Belushi and Aykroyd later created the infamous Blues Brothers skit for SNL, which led to the cult-classic movie of the same name.

"I might have been John's muse to the blues all those years ago," Salgado said. "But the real Blues Brothers concept was Dan's idea."

Salgado hasn't let his sporadic bouts with cancer interfere with his music too much, he said. He was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2006. Another spot was discovered on his lung a year later.

"I am a cancer survivor," he said. "Hopefully it won't come back. Mine is a nonaggressive cancer, so I don't have to have the chemo poison put into my body. But because it's slow-growing, I never know when it might return."

He feels blessed, however, to still be able to play the music he loves.

"I've learned to eat differently since this cancer, but my music is the same, and that's the way I like it," he said.

Showtime for the Sapolil Cellars gig is 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased at www.sapolilcellars.com. The winery is at 15 E. Main St., in downtown Walla Walla.

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Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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