Fuentes, AKA: "Sal Sage" grew up in San Francisco
near the Union Stockyards, and by the age of 15 he began
working there. During the day he rode horses and fed cattle
and in the evenings he would play for house parties or events
at the local roping arena. His guitar went with him every
where. In 1950 by the age of 19 he was advertising for H.
Moffett Meat Co. (Manteca Fed Beef) The jingle went like
this, "Moffett Manteca really guaranteed, put it on
your menu the very next time you eat, Moffett Manteca, Moffett-Manteca" He
traveled to all the H. Moffett Beef outlets promoting their
product singing this jingle. It was they that put him in
the Musicians Union in 1950, he remained in it until the
Sal came from a musical family. Music
was second nature to him. His father and brother played
Spanish Guitar, his mother, Harmonica. Two sisters sing
and one also plays Guitar. His love for cattle, horses
and his music came together. He attended all the western
movies he could and learned many of the western songs from
them. Sal's idol was Gene Autry. His music even sounded
like Gene Autry. He has a soft drawl and can comfortably
roll into honing his smooth dulcet style.
He has been strumming
his guitar and singing for some 58 years. Alone, and with
his band, he has traveled across the country to backyard
barbecues, trail rides, rodeos, wineries, county fairs,
Christmas parties, livestock auctions and radio/ TV stations.
You name it he's played for it. Cowboy memorials and even
for the World Croquet Championships. A proud moment was
when he played for Bechtel Corporation out of Arizona.
He played for Steve Bechtel's retirement dinner in San
Francisco. A one hour gig especially for Steve. He will
be playing for Pfizer Animal Health again this year at
the Sparks Nugget. In his memory book he has letters received
from noted personalities like Leroy VAnDyke, Monty Montana,
and others not so famous complementing him on his performances.
His first band was called "Sal Sage and the Happy Rangers" a
five piece band, then "Sal Sage and the Sonoma Mountain
Boys," also a five piece band, and onto, "Sal Sage
and the Sage Gang," a four piece band. Forty-five years
and his bands played for dances in and around the Bay area,
from the Columbo Hall on San Pedro Rd. in Colma, CA., to
Herzog Hall in Petaluma, Veterans' Memorial Building in Sonoma,
Penngrove's Woman's Club House, Elk's Hall in San Francisco
and in Hay Barns and Halls that have long since been torn
down. He has entertained at the Red Bluff Bull and Gelding
Sale for 26 years and is still there as of 2004, awaiting
the 2005 contract. He and the band was at the San Francisco
Cow Palace- Grand National Livestock Exposition for 19 years,
Gravenstein Apple Fair in Sebastopol for 9 years, Cattlemen's
Association for 12 years, the Alturass, Sonoma, Paso Robles,
and Petaluma Fairs.
Bay area columnist and peopleologist Bill
Sal Sage as the last of the great singing cowboy entertainers.
He plays an Aria guitar with a cattle skull and crossed six-shooters
inlaid in the mother-of pearl on it's neck. His music will
bring tears to your eyes or it will have you bounding across
the floor. He and his band played a variety of music from "The
Cattle Call" to "Tenessee Saturday Night", "Oklahoma
Hills", "Rolie Polie", "Oaky Boogie", "Luisiana
Swing", ect. Sal's list of songs can go for four hours.
Instead of pulling his melodies from Garth, Clint or Allen,
he chooses Curley Flercher, Gene Autry, Hank Williams Sr.,
Bob Wills, Ernest Tubbs, Eddie Arnold, Hank Snow, Hank Thompson,
Charlie Pride, and many other old names. Songs you don't hear on the radio anymore.
He's also recorded three albums called, "Songs of the Old West", Volumes
I, II, and III. Some of the songs are from the original singing cowboys. Others
such as, "Just the little Town of Penngrove," was penned by him while
sitting at a railroad track with a truck load of cattle waiting for a train to
clear the crossing. "Penngrove" is about the little town in Sonoma
CA. where he lived for some 35 years after moving there from San Francisco. While
there, Sal worked a day job and played music at night. He said that, "Some
times his socks were still warm from the night before of playing music when he
was getting up to go to his day job" He has been an auctioneer, meat cutter,
butcher, truck driver, and cattle buyer.
When on a trip buying cattle for Sunshine Meat Co. some
30 years ago, he met his wife Georgia. she was working at
a livestock auction yard. His band played for the auction
yard Christmas party.
Since moving to Lincoln, he has retired to what he loves;
a small ranch with cattle and horses to feed and care for.
His love for Western Music has not left him. He was the founder
of a non-profit music club. His desire to keep alive the
traditional western music of the earlier era is still very
strong. He gets no money from the organization. Sal and other
old timers work hard to keep this beloved music from the
early years alive. Their goal is to promote traditional western
and country music to the younger generations. There is a
lot of country rock music around, but not much of the traditional
western and country music. He is a member of the Western
Swing Society in Sacramento, the Western Music Association,
Old Time Fiddlers, and is the founder of Lincoln Western