Story

Chris Alvarado Makes Sweet Music and His Own Guitars

June 29, 2012 by Danny Burns

The first time you hear Chris Alvarado performing you can tell he isn’t an average musician playing cover tunes you can find in every tourist destination. Sure, he can play Jimmy Buffett songs. But he also has some very interesting original material. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Chris is a local boy, born and raised in the panhandle. He grew up in a musical family. His father, Al Alvarado, is a well-respected jazz musician and local businessman. After serving seven years in the Air Force at Hurlburt and in Alaska, Chris came back to Santa Rosa Beach to pursue a musical career.


“I got out of the military and managed to do what I love for the last four years. When I got out of the military I told everybody I wanted to play music and build guitars”. And that’s exactly what he’s done.

To say that Chris is one of the hardest working musicians in our area is an understatement. Working over 280 gigs a year puts him in the over-achiever category. And it’s beginning to pay off.

His performances at the 30A Songwriters Festival in 2011 and 2012 were met with rave reviews from locals who already knew him, the new fans he made at the festival, and his songwriting peers.

At the 3rd Annual Beachcomber Music Awards, he won Best Singer/Songwriter on the Emerald Coast.

Out of thousands of applicants for a prestigious event sponsored by the Recording Academy in Orlando this spring, Chris was one of six acts chosen to perform in front of a panel of seasoned veterans of the music industry. The judges thought he was the best that Florida had to offer and awarded him first place at the 2012 Florida Grammy Showcase.

Recently, Chris has been writing and performing with local favorite Kelsey Anna, and Vanguard recording artist Daphne Willis. Chris seems to always be playing at choice venues in the panhandle.

His newly released, self-titled collection of heart-felt songs paint an acoustic picture of youthful angst with songs like “Searching”. There’s a touch of Chris’ sense of humor on “Find My Way”, and the whimsical “Reservation For Two”. All of the songs on his album are worth a serious listen. You might find a new favorite among them. He even throws in a little Johnny Cash for good measure. You can find Chris’ music on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and Pandora.

Chris not only plays guitar well, he makes them. His company, Driftwood Guitars, makes all types of acoustic guitars, ukuleles, mandolins, and custom instruments to order. The guitar he plays at every show is one of his own making.

His latest musical effort is a Kickstarter Project. Kickstarter is an investment vehicle through which artists can raise funds for production costs of products or recordings. Chris is enticing investors with some great perks for those who help him get 200 vinyl records of his album pressed.

On a personal note, Chris and his lovely wife, Naomi, recently got the news they have been waiting to hear for some time and are expecting their first child.

“I’ve always wanted to be a family man and play music at the same time, so my goal has never been fame” Chris said. But with his kind of ambition, even if you’re not looking for it, fame may come looking for you. 

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Danny Burns

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