Reviewed by William Tokash
The Cactus Blossoms (CBs), led by brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum from Minneapolis, have released their debut album titled, “You’re Dreaming” on Red House Records produced by Broken Arrow, OK roots rocker, JD McPherson. Red House is a St. Paul-based roots music label that recently had the foresight to partner with Dale Watson, one of the most inspiring cats in Twang today, to lead the Ameripolitan music genre effort.
The Cactus Blossoms have crafted a timeless, retro sound that is flush with stunning harmonies (clearly) inspired by the likes of the Everly Brothers. But what I heard after a couple listens fits nicely, but maybe not explicitly, with Dale’s Ameripolitan style. The CBs’ sounds are heavily influenced by gospel, rockabilly, and straight-up old timey, early 50s era, Nashville harmonies without being derivative or formulaic.
Songs like Powder Blue, which sounds like it could have made the shortlist for the Blue Velvet movie soundtrack, and Stoplight Kisses, where they touched on a bit of a Ray Price vibe to me, really standout for me. And then they go full-on Don and Phil on a couple of perfect songs titled No More Cryin’ the Blues and Clown Collector
I am now completely hooked on these boys. But I couldn’t help but think of a couple thoughts for the CBs now that I’ve dug in on their sounds. Like, uh, Minnesota is not exactly cactus country, y’all! Do y’all get along better that Don and Phil Everly did? Do y’all know to steer clear of Nashville so you don’t get fleeced like the Everly Brothers did? Do you two get super-drunk and belt out Louvin Bros covers all night when you’re not on the road (this is a Very Good Thing in my book)! Take a listen, and keep an eye out for the Cactus Blossoms in full bloom in a town near you soon.