“I can hear music in the stars/I can paint pictures with my voice,” claims singer/ songwriter Kurt Baumann in “Music in the Stars,” one of the songs on The Burned, the name of his solo debut project, the result of a lifetime chasing his muse.
Born in San Antonio, and growing up in a rural East Texas town, his parents separating when he was three, Kurt and his sister lived their teen years with their father, an airline pilot who once worked for the Prime Minister of Lebanon, in such exotic locales as Saudi Arabia and Germany. As a child, his favorite singer was Willie Nelson, but he also listened to master storytellers like Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson before his sister turned him on to New Wave Rock, eventually drawing him to bands such as The Cure, Depeche Mode and Jane’s Addiction. Although he played in a grunge-style punk garage band while in Germany, then was a member of the popular jam band Kan’nal he traveled a long road to write his solo bow that took him to a mystical, transcendent experience in an abandoned mining town tucked away among the mountains of Mexico where The Burned was born.
“People have described my music as kind of spooky and dark,” says Baumann, much of its inspiration coming from the parched terrain of his home state that has produced a musical melting pot of country, blues, soul, rock, R&B and psychedelic sounds. “I needed to fulfill this vision by going back to my Texas roots.”
A vocalist from the time he could walk, Kurt would sing country songs for his elementary school show-and-tell, always knowing he had a stage presence, but it wasn’t until he gave up music, traveled to Mexico, and had a number of explorative journeys and experiences that he found he had something to write about.
“I wanted to find a deeper thing within myself to present to the world,” he says.
Listeners appreciated The Burned for its evocative tales, proclaiming the album “fantastic” and “worth every penny.” Television and radio responded well, too, with “Man Running" featured on NBC's hit show Chase, "Make Believe" on CW's Gossip Girl, and "Time" on ABC's Make It or Break It. "Hard Lesson" became a most requested song (2012, KINK in Portland, Ore.) and settled in at number 3 on Seattle’s The Mountain. Critics raved, including Skope Magazine’s Diana Olson who wrote, “It's rare when music and lyrics reach down and touch your soul. So rare, I can't remember the last time it happened to me. Suddenly, I am sitting here mesmerized by The Burned. Thought- provoking, current day lyrics are combined with mellow, acoustic and electronic sounds that extend themselves creating visual experiences that transcend definition.”
The Burned’s acclaimed first chapter had fans clamoring for live shows. Indeed, that first album (largely studio-based) was a success story that surprised even Baumann, who has since pulled together a full touring band to both record and perform the band’s new music.
INTO THE FUTURE
“Dark Red Sun”, the first of a series of EP’s to be released, marks the beginning of a new chapter for The Burned. While still in the spirit of the debut album, his new songs exhibit the storytelling, rootsy feel of epic ballads heard during his Texas childhood blended with the psychedelic rock of today. “For me the music feels like a cross between Johnny Cash and Pink Floyd somehow. If there’s a bridge between those two worlds we’re somewhere on it.”
“In the past, my writing has been more esoteric,” explains Baumann, “and while I love mysterious songs that are open to individual interpretation, sometimes people are confused about the meaning. The new songs aim to revive classic storytelling, but with rock tones and textures added along the way.”
To sum up the spirit of Baumann’s writing, The Burned’s bass guitarist Kevin Colomby notes, “His songs conjure images of wild fires and dying embers and the thoughts that come when you stay awake all night, alone, under a big sky of stars.”
With The Burned, Kurt Baumann’s music carries us to a world where there are no finish lines and always something greater beyond, “…just jump over the edge and see.”