Austin-based duo, Black Pumas, is the collaboration of Grammy-winning guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada and undeniably talented 27-year-old songwriter, Eric Burton—who has seemed to revivify the sound of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, added in a splash of a contemporary twist of their own. Quesada and Burton were introduced through a mutual friend. It only took a few minutes on the phone to decide Burton’s vocals were exactly what Quesada needed to near to know they were on the same wavelength.
Black Pumas is a name reminiscent of African-American activist group, the Black Panthers. It’s no coincidence that the self-titled debut album hearkens back to the same period, even calling upon it in many tracks. One of the first singles released from the album, “Black Moon Rising”, pulls from Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising,” calling on the nostalgia of the era, while adding a sinister slice of R&B magic, the soul of the early ‘70s and the electric piano keys with an instantaneous and easily digestible vocal performance.
In a brooding and cinematic effort, “OCT 33” is delivered as a buttery smooth conversation between different generations. On this track, Burton’s intoxicating voice almost stands out alone as it is the song’s main event. One of the LP’s stand-out tracks is, “Know You Better”, where listeners get to experience Burton’s falsetto in raw form.
To end the album with “Sweet Conversations” was a bold choice, but they pulled it off with the utmost confidence and class. The lyrics are incredibly endearing and bold, and the melody promotes ease and class right from the get-go—something that few artists can pull off so easily.
With a debut album so hard to resist to play from start to finish, don’t miss out on this live performance coming to Portland this month! Black Pumas will be playing Doug Fir Lounge on Saturday, October 19th.