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REVIEW: The Cactus Blossoms – Live At Seven Arts, Leeds



The Cactus Blossoms …. Who? Never heard of them? Wow – go and have a listen.

Heading into Leeds last night on a cold, wet January night listening to ‘You’re Dreaming’ in the car, for once I was not really sure what to expect. At a very small 100 seater venue called Seven Arts we were treated to a fun night from the Cactus Blossoms.

Hailing originally from Minnesota, Jack Torrey and his brother Page Burkham melodically delivered their simples songs transporting us back to the 1950s via 2017. As the songs rolled out from their new album, ‘You’re Dreaming’, old and new collided. They seemed to move seamlessly between those classic country ballads to rockabilly, with ‘No More Crying the Blues’; we even ended up in Mexico at one point with the beautiful ‘Adios Maria’. Apologies to all of those sat in front of me who had to listen to my, less than melodic rendition, of this soulful song. The album was produced and released last year by J D McPherson. Thanks J D for the influence and support of the boys, it has launched them to new audiences around the world.

Each song had us tapping our feet and desperate to get up and dance. Even the melancholy songs sounded happy with perfect pitch. I swear they could sing the weather report and make it sound upbeat!! Their sound has the precious quality of sibling harmonies with that perfect timing.

We should not fail to mention the band. The boys were supported by Andy Carroll on double bass and Chris Hepola on drums. Both adding a little bit of Latin Jazz into the mix of sounds. Jack has an amazing talent in the guitar as he made it sing from small guitar to steel pedal guitar just by moving his little finger. Literally.

Jack and Page talked us through the tracks, how they came to write them and their influences, like ‘Queen Of Them All’, dedicated as a love song to Jack’s wife. Lucky girl indeed. My particular favourite track from last night is not even on the album, ‘Happy Man On A Gloomy Day’. Jack was whistling his way through an art gallery, when the simple comment of him being a happy man on a gloomy day lead to this lovely upbeat track. Simple yet perfect!!

The guys are down to earth, exemplified by their promotional photos taken outside their garage complete with trash cans. Just another example of their simple, raw projection in their music and personalities.

Thanks to the team at Seven Arts for putting on this ray of sunshine on a dark, cold night. In the amazing melting pot of country music that we are privileged to have access to, give The Cactus Blossoms a listen, especially in these dark January days. ‘You’re Dreaming’ will lift your heart and soul this week.

Thanks guys for an awesome night!

(Writer – Jayne Scoffin)

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