This week’s post has to be written from a personal perspective. I just couldn’t find a way to write about Black Pumas without expressing how much this band has inspired me this summer, as my colleagues and I build this festival together each day. On June 21 of this year, the Austin-based duo of Adrian Quesada and Eric Burton released 40 stunning minutes of the best new soul music I’ve heard in years. The last time I fell this hard for a record, it was Michael Kiwanuka’s Home Again. Just as that album did at first listen in 2012, Black Pumas’ 2019 self-titled release took me home again. Since its release in June, this album has already become my most listened to album of 2019 on Spotify. Every morning, I open the Spotify app on my phone as I pour my first cup of coffee. Spotify asks me if I wanna ‘jump back in‘ to Black Pumas and most mornings, I click yes and begin my day by listening to one of the ten stellar tracks on this album. Dropping the needle on this record can make me feel the summer wind of 1973 blowing against my skin. My analogy is not to suggest that this album is not fresh–quite the opposite. Burton and Quesada are true innovators of sound. It seems as if Black Pumas have been inspired by some of my most beloved childhood soul stirrers–Bill Withers, Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, The Isley Brothers. This duo has written songs and arranged them into an infectiously groovy sound that perfectly speaks to this time and place while delivering an homage to 1970s soul. American Songwriter Magazine describes this duo by writing: “Credit goes to Quesada for creating the overall palette with production that never overplays its hand. Still, it’s Burton’s vocals that create the focal point for music that consistently hits a sweet spot like the finest soul music from the ‘70s and ‘80s, without feeling the least bit retro.”
My colleagues and I set out last winter to build a lineup that touches the hearts and minds of every member of our community. This year’s musical landscape remains true to the festival’s foundation of roots and blues, with a more inclusive approach to American roots music. From the Louisiana Man himself, Doug Kershaw, to indie rockers, The New Pornographers, we’ve encompassed a wide swath of sounds and styles to move every generation. There is nothing that moves me like that sweet soulful sound. After extinguishing my lengthy wishlist of current purveyors of this sound, I was crushed, not one was available during our weekend. Then our booker introduced me to an up-and-coming artist I was not familiar with, Black Pumas. Instantly, I was a fan, and my colleagues and I were all in to include this band in our lineup. I cannot adequately express in words how thrilled and honored I am that Black Pumas will perform on our Missouri Lottery stage, Saturday, September 28 at 4pm at the 2019 Roots n Blues Festival. Listen to the album Black Pumas.
Buy your tickets now, August is your last chance to get advance ticket pricing. https://rootsnbluesfestival.com/tickets/