Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Kurt Baumann has resurrected a project from long ago and given it new life.
As part of the duo Sea Stars with Katie Gray, all of Baumann’s solo work is under the title “The Burned.” The name is loosely based off a mountain in Mexico that has inspired him for years.
“For me, the spirit of the mountain is what I aim to capture in my music. It’s epic, dangerous, beautiful, rugged and inspiring. Hopefully, I can reflect that,” he said.
Joined by a trio of Orcas musicians – Kevin Colomby, Bruce Harvie and Jeffrey Horton – The Burned will play a rock concert of new material at Seaview Theatre on Thursday, Oct. 19. Doors open at 7 p.m. for patrons to enjoy the lounge; the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door and at www.seaviewtheburned.brownpapertickets.com.
It all began in 2010 when Baumann was living in Los Angeles and recorded an album of The Burned material and released it “without any expectations.” To his surprise, five of the songs were picked up for television and one was a major radio hit in Seattle and Portland. Baumann, who didn’t have a band at the time, was not prepared for the touring offers that started to arrive.
“I kinda shot myself in the foot,” he said. “But I learned from the experience. I put everything on hold, had a mid-life crisis and I reassessed my life and how I was going to approach my music.”
The tracks from that first album are still on rotation. As recently as 2016, one of the songs, with Gray on background vocals, was featured on the Today show.
Now living on Orcas, Baumann felt compelled to connect with his Texas roots and love of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. He’s written 15 new songs of “western, dusty rock,” and formed a band with Colomby on bass, Harvie on guitar and Horton on drums.
“From the first moment we played together, there was that energy where we gelled. And we all felt it,” said Baumann. “The Burned is the bridge where Johnny Cash and Pink Floyd meet.”
Said Harvie: “It’s a great joy to be playing with musicians who understand the concept of dynamics – playing loud when you need to, but being able to bring it down to a whisper to respect the power of the vocals. We want to hear those words, but we also want the power of the music to support their meaning and potency. It has been a fun process.”
The show at Sea View will feature their work together as well as sound and lights by Jake Perrine. It’s the first of many, as they plan to perform in Portland and Seattle in the coming months.
“We want to blow it up at the Sea View,” said Baumann. “And Jeffrey has pledged to grow a beard if we sell out.”
In early October, he will head to Ojai, California to record The Burned’s songs. The band will record their parts later on Orcas. The album will be released in early 2018.
“Kurt has the lyrical gift and the voice to deliver meaning and feeling straight to your soul,” said Colomby. “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. As a band, from the beginning, we’ve synchronized in that rare way that makes musical space for your ears to listen, your heart to smolder, and for your body to move.”