Black Pumas' Psychedelic Soul Is The Latest Austin Sound That's Making A Splash

Jul 3, 2019

From Texas Standard:

Sonny and Cher, Simon and Garfunkel, John and Paul, Mick and Keith – music history is full of legendary collaborations. And the next one might just come straight out of the Texas capital city.

Black Pumas is the latest project from Grammy-winning guitarist and producer Adrian Quesada – of the bands Grupo Fantasma and Brownout. Bringing his dynamic voice to the party as lead singer is Eric Burton. He grew up singing in church and musical theater, and landed in Austin by way of California, busking to pay his bills and developing some true performance cred along the way.

Black Pumas have captivated audiences and critics alike with their "psychedelic soul," and energetic live performances. They've just released a self-titled debut album on a major independent label, and are already selling out shows around the country. 

Eric Burton says the group's first single, "Black Moon Rising," came from Quesada.

"Adrian approached me with the track," Burton says. "He labeled it 'Solar Eclipse,' and I kind of just ran with that. I did a little bit of research on the moon and its orbit, and I took the physical aspect of the solar eclipse and I combined that with the love of a mysterious woman."

Burton and Quesada met in 2017 after Burton moved to Austin. He was busking, as he had been doing on the Santa Monica Pier in California, and trying to market his music.

"We weren't sure if it was going to pan out for us, but I think that there were a lot of people who reached out to Adrian to suggest different singers for the instrumentals that he had," Burton says "But none of them struck his fancy."

Burton first sang to Quesada over the phone. Quesada invited Burton into the studio to record. On the first day, they recorded "Black Moon Rising" and "Fire," the group's second single.

"It's been an amazing thing," Burton says. "It's hard to articulate, when you find that perfect teammate – Kobe and Shaq, Michael Jordan and Pippin – that's what it feels like."

Written by Shelly Brisbin.