Photo by Atwood Magazine
Written by Angelo Claure
For those wondering where the groove & soul of our age has been hiding all along, look no further. If you haven’t heard them by now, may I introduce the Black Pumas, consisting of Eric Burton and Adrian Quesada. Their self-titled debut album, Black Pumas, was released in 2019 and prompted a massive wave of attention and recognition as the group earned six Grammy nominations in the past three years. Eric Burton is a California native who spent time busking in locations ranging from Santa Monica to the Midwest, where he eventually settled in Austin, Texas. Adrian Quesada, who is a Texan native, heard Burton’s incredible vocals the two decided to work together and the Black Pumas were born.
The infectious groove of Black Moon Rising, the first track on Black Pumas, alerts the soul of an incoming fire. The band claims it’s intentions immediately with Eric’s smooth soulful vocals, Adrian’s subdued but funk-filled guitar work, and their keyboard player’s playful jam piece to remind the listeners of their musical prowess. The album only gets better as you find the story-laden lyrics and clever acoustic guitar melodies on tracks like Oct 33 (played with an extra resonant 12-string guitar) and Colors, which transports you to a world which only reassures the listener with its honesty. The pure enthusiasm and uplifting energy of Black Pumas can be found on tracks such as Old Man, Fire, and Confines, which are all relentless in their ability to get you moving. Black Pumas has that sweet soul of the 70s while also having a distinctness which is far too rare to be left in the past. I was lucky enough to see Black Pumas live in Inglewood back in December 2021 and these guys were unbelievable from start to finish, sharp on every transition, uncompromising in their delivery, and always holding that eternal groove. So listen closely when they tell you that if “You got Soul, then You got Fire”.