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ALBUM REVIEW: "You're Dreaming" by The Cactus Blossoms

Red House Records
"You're Dreaming" is the debut album from The Cactus Blossoms.
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ALBUM REVIEW: The Cactus Blossoms – You’re Dreaming (Red House Records) 2016

It’s nigh impossible to not mention the Everly Brothers when listening to You’re Dreaming, the debut album from the brotherly duo The Cactus Blossoms.

With its simple rhymes and plaintive harmonizing, Minnesota brothers Page Burkum and Jack Torrey have created a fantastic, 11-song record that sounds as though it were recorded in 1958 in some dusty recording studio, somewhere west of Lubbock.

But let me assure you, Burkum and Torrey are very much a 21st century creation, two brothers with a sincere appreciation for the classic country (think Hank Williams) and pre-1960 vocal and pop music that ruled in the days before rock n’ roll changed the musical landscape forever.

So, when I saw the Cactus Blossoms perform “Mississippi” on the third episode of this year’s Twin Peaks: The Return, and later learned that they were a new addition to the remarkable roster of musical acts with St. Paul-based Red House Records, well, these were all very good signs.

That, and Broken Arrow, Okla. native JD McPherson, a fine singer and musician in his own right, co-produced You’re Dreaming with the Cactus Blossoms. He also plays electric guitar on the record, alongside the singing-and-guitar-slinging brothers and a host of ace session musicians who seem to be channeling the ghosts of Sun Studio.

McPherson, who has a love of early rock n’ roll, rockabilly, classic country and old R&B was a fantastic choice. He helped capture Burkum and Torrey at their collective best on the bouncy opener “Stoplight Kisses” and on the rootsy balladry of “Adios Maria,” a song you can imagine hearing on an AM radio, late at night, while driving down old Route 66 through the desert.

Back to the Everlys, just listen to the twangy and fun “Clown Collector,” and try not to hear the influence of Phil and Don, a group that had such a powerful influence on the Beatles, when John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison were first starting out as musicians and singers in late 1950’s Britain.

You’re Dreaming is a fine debut LP for The Cactus Blossoms - a group that has a genuine love of the sounds that came before.

The Cactus Blossoms are currently on tour

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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