Home Read Albums Of The Week: The Cactus Blossoms | One Day

Albums Of The Week: The Cactus Blossoms | One Day

The rootsy Minneapolis duo add a few new sonic wrinkles to their classic sound — and deliver a welcome dose of lyrical optimism — on their endearing fourth album.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Minneapolis duo The Cactus Blossoms are comprised of brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum. While they have drawn comparisons to other musical siblings like the Everlys and Louvins over the years, One Day often suggests a more soulful, ’70s-inspired palette, hinting at times to Bobby Charles or JJ Cale with its playful Wurlitzer, breezy guitars, and lean, muscular percussion. The band’s classic country and old-school pop roots are still there, of course, but the growth and evolution underlying One Day is obvious, not only in the duo’s writing, but in their core philosophy, as well.

Lockdown hit the brothers hard. Quarantine put a sudden halt to their plans to record a new studio record, and as Minneapolis began to erupt in social and political unrest following the police killing of George Floyd, music began to seem like the least of the duo’s concerns. “It felt like the whole world was falling apart,” says Burkum. “We had to put things on hold just so we could try to wrap our heads around everything that was happening in Minneapolis and beyond.”

As 2020 stretched on, Torrey and Burkum slowly began to regain their footing, and when it felt safe enough to get together in person, they started kicking ideas back and forth, inviting each other into their respective writing processes earlier than ever before. When it came time to record, the brothers called on longtime collaborator/engineer Alex Hall, who brought his mobile rig up from Chicago so they could cut the album quick and dirty in Burkum’s basement. They kept their circle tight for the sessions, working with their core touring band — which includes both their older brother and their cousin — to capture the songs with a feel as close to the live show as possible.

“From the start, we knew we wanted to keep the instrumentation minimal and consistent across the whole album and embrace the dryness that came with recording in Page’s basement,” says Torrey. “We wanted it to sound raw.”

Like much of The Cactus Blossoms’ catalog, the steady-cruising single Hey Baby operates on multiple levels: Take it at face value and it’s a playful little track about a roadtrip in a rusty old truck. Zoom out, and there’s a deeper message about the power (or naïveté) of positive thinking. “I hope it all works out,” the brothers sing in exquisite harmony, “It always works out.”

“That idea of finding a silver lining comes up a lot on this record,” says Torrey. “It’s an acknowledgment that no matter how messed up things might be, people still want to believe in the world and find ways to feel lucky and joyful.”