“As far as the harmony, we’re kind of on the inside looking out and so we don't really know what's special about what we do.” says Jack Torrey who makes up half of the duo along with his brother Page Burkum.
The Cactus Blossoms will be performing with their full band for what they call a “stripped down, rock and roll country band” at The Continental Club on Sunday, April 16 along with opener Riley Downing from The Deslondes.
The brothers are looking forward to returning to Houston in the spring, avoiding the brutal summer heat they've experienced here in the past and getting some relief from the still snowy weather of their hometown.
Much like the seasons, timing is everything in the songs of The Cactus Blossoms as Torrey and Burkum have that special sibling connection that allows them to harmonize in the most magnificent ways, much like the Louvin Brothers or the Everly Brothers, evoking a feeling of days gone by with their clean and minimalist sounds.
“I think some of that might be due to the kind of music that we entered into,” explains Burkum. “Getting so into folk music and old country and in my opinion, a lot of that is really timeless and human in a way that doesn't really have to do with any era but it is older stuff.”
“Getting so into folk music and old country and in my opinion, a lot of that is really timeless and human in a way that doesn't really have to do with any era but it is older stuff.”
Though the brothers clearly have a vintage sound that is rooted in the past, they are not purists who are unable to branch out and veer away from the classic songwriting style.
“It’s kind of like if we are architects building buildings,” explains Torrey. “We are using some classic materials and it comes from classic designs but we are open to new ideas and concepts with what we are doing so we don't feel tethered to a style or that we need to try and be something.”
Their sound and songwriting style is no doubt what has caused them to be sought out by artists like JD McPherson, who produced their 2016 release You’re Dreaming which features the track “Mississippi” that gained them a spot on the 2017 Twin Peaks remake.
The brothers laugh remembering how when they were recording they noticed that the song reminded them of Twin Peaks and casually joked that it would be great if David Lynch called them up.
“I guess we should keep those jokes up because it happened,” laughs Torrey, discussing manifestation versus dumb luck. “I’ve been joking about getting rich for a long time and it still hasn't happened so I'm not sure if it works,” adds Burkum.
The brothers also worked with Dan Auerbach who collaborated with them on the 2019 Easy Way and most recently Jenny Lewis who contributed vocals on “Everybody” from their most recent release One Day.
“We’ve been really lucky to and amazed with some of the people that we've had a chance to just rub shoulders with and we always learn a lot,” says Torrey describing the long term effects of these fantastic collaborations that carry new knowledge from one project to the next.
“We don't always understand why someone points at us and picks us out or asks us to do something with them but we always say, ‘Yes please! You're amazing!’ and it's been a really cool way to learn and get to watch how other people do their thing and kind of absorb that,” adds Burkum.
In 2022, the brothers also released If Not For You Volume One, a four track interpretation of Dylan classics where the brothers put their own touch on the fellow Minnesotan's famous songs. “We love Bob Dylan,” says Torrey. “He kind of cracked my brain open as a teenager and really got me into music in a different way than I had ever been.”
The brothers left the door open to record a possible volume two in the future.
“I will say with Dylan, we love so many of his songs but part of how we choose the songs we were doing was, which songs can work for two people to sing because I don't think I can imagine us singing “Like A Rolling Stone” as a duet. I just don't think that would work. The songs narrowed themselves down as to which ones would work for us but I’m sure there are more.”
The Cactus Blossoms will perform with opener Riley Downing on Sunday, April 16 at The Continental Club, 3700 Main. Doors open at 7 p.m, $22-32.