Curtis Salgado recovering: ‘It’s going to take a while’

Curtis Salgado
Curtis Salgado is up for three 2017 Blues Music Awards.
Photo by Paul Natkin, provided by Alligator Records.

In a Facebook message, Curtis Salgado gave “The Beautiful Lowdown” on his recovery from March 10 quadruple bypass surgery.

“I walk about a mile a day,” he said on a video posted April 8. “I am supposed to take it easy up until April 15, when I will really get into the heavy stuff. They’ll put me on treadmills and such. It’s rehab for heart surgery.”

The blues-based soul singer appears to have lost a considerable amount of weight and his voice was a bit soft and coarse. He played a boogie-woogie on a piano at his home in Portland, Oregon, before speaking about his condition.

“It’s gonna take a while,” he said. “It’s gonna take months. And all I want to do is get onstage. That’s where I belong. I am dying to get up and play music and hopefully play for you folks again. Your outpouring of love is unbelievable. It hits me. It’s tough to take because you don’t know how to pay it back.”

Salgado, 64, suffered a heart attack on March 7 and a cardio catheterization revealed arterial blockage. Three days later, he had quadruple bypass surgery at a Lebanon, New Hampshire, area hospital.

Salgado survived liver cancer in 2006 and lung cancer reappeared in 2012, and part of his lung was taken out.

He is nominated for three Blues Music Awards to be announced in Memphis on May 11.

The nominations include Album Of The Year for “The Beautiful Lowdown,” Soul Blues Artist Of The Year, and Song Of The Year for “Walk A Mile In My Blues.” He won the 2010, 2012 and 2013 Blues Music Awards for Soul Blues Artist Of The Year. In 2013, he also won the coveted BMA for B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year — the highest honor the blues world has to offer — and took the statue for Soul Blues Album Of The Year for his Alligator Records debut, “Soul Shot.”

Salgado explained why he posted his Facebook message:

“There was such an outpouring of love with people calling me, and texting and emailing me and also contributing to YouCaring.com. It’s just an overwhelming amount of love that’s been given to me and I don’t know what to say. I owe the universe and I wish I could pay it back.”

At the end of the video, Salgado played part of a Jerry Lee Lewis barrelhouse song.

“I don’t know what I’m doing,” he joked. “It looks like I have a lot of time to practice. I’ll get back to you. I love you.”

Salgado is a native of Eugene, Oregon, where the 1977 movie “Animal House” was filmed. Actor John Belushi saw Salgado perform and befriended him. He later modeled his character Joliet Jake in the movie “The Blues Brothers” after Salgado.

Salgado played harmonica on Robert Cray’s first album, “Look Who’s Talkin’,” before becoming the frontman for Roomful of Blues. He then went on to record numerous solo albums.

Locally, Salgado has performed in recent years at the Crystal Bay Casino, Squaw Valley’s Bluesdays and the Coloma Blues Festival.

-Tim Parsons, Tahoe Onstage

Album review: “The Beautiful Lowdown” an aptly named record.

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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