Black Pumas Talk Austin Barbecue, Their Breakout Year, and More on Biscuits & Jam
About Biscuits & Jam: In the South, talking about food is personal. It's a way of sharing your history, your family, your culture, and yourself. Each week Sid Evans, Editor in Chief of Southern Living, sits down with celebrity musicians to hear stories of how they grew up, what inspired them, and how they've been shaped by Southern culture. Sid takes us back to some of their most cherished memories and traditions, the family meals they still think about, and their favorite places to eat on the road.
Episode 8: May 18, 2021
Singer/songwriter and California native Eric Burton was busking and couch surfing across the west coast before settling in Austin, Texas, and meeting guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada, who had already won a Grammy himself with the Latin-influenced Grupo Fantasma. The duo began what was originally just a studio project called Black Pumas in 2018, but the buzz around Austin proved their sound belonged on stage. Black Pumas released their self-titled debut album a year later, and have never looked back, earning four Grammy nominations and being chosen to perform at this year's Presidential Inauguration.
On What Drew Eric to Austin
Eric: "Well, I spent quite a bit of time in California between there and West Virginia and a little bit of time in New Mexico. When I first got to Austin, I felt that Southern hospitality kind of thing...people here were very receptive and just very warm and welcoming to me...And so I'm glad I stayed because I think Adrian and I both admit to each other that this wouldn't have happened anywhere else. So that's the reason why I stayed and I'm glad I did."
On What Kept Adrian in Austin
Adrian: "I would say the number one thing that kept me in Austin is family. I moved here from a town called Laredo, which is like three hours south. And, coming from Laredo, Austin was a whole other world to me, and it was the nearest city to my hometown where I could do music, art, feel creative, and be myself."
On the Austin Food Scene
Adrian: "The barbecue is amazing. And Lockhart, right outside of Austin, is kind of like the capital, but, it's funny because I feel like I only eat it when friends from out of town come in and want to eat barbecue. It's kind of one of those really heavy lunches, if that's what you're doing that day, that's what you're doing that day."
Eric: "I personally really love the integration that has been a kind of soul food and Mexican food. One of my first friends here in Austin, his name is John Sanchez, and his parents own a restaurant called Baby A's. It's a little chain for Tex-Mex and delicious cocktails."
On Their Early Performances Together
Eric: "I believe that we were both fairly nervous. We didn't know how it was going to go over. All we knew for sure was that we had a really great time recording it together. And we felt that we would be remiss not to give this music a go. I remember both of us not really inviting too many people out."
Adrian: "I used to look forward to that Thursday all week long. I mean, it was so much fun. You know, those first shows were a lot of our friends. But by the second or third one, there were lines around the block. It was so new and so fresh, exciting. I had a hard time sleeping the night before because I'd be so excited. But I do remember, I think I felt like it exceeded my expectations on that first show."
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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