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The Cactus Blossoms

Easy Way – 2019 (Walkie Talkie)

Reviewed by Henry L. Carrigan Jr.

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CDs by The Cactus Blossoms

The third studio release from Minneapolis-based duo the Cactus Blossoms is a pleasing mix of country, pop and rock with harmonies that recall the Everly Brothers and The Beatles. Brothers Page Burkum and Jack Torrey (Torrey is a stage name) wrote or co-wrote all 10 songs with mostly good results. One of the stronger compositions is Torrey's "Downtown" with a biting social commentary on income inequality ("The rich are getting way too high/Even try to scrape the sky" and "Try getting by on minimum wage, I dare you/American slaves in the modern age, it should scare you"). Similarly Torrey's "Boomerang" focuses on economic challenges ("Getting by from nine to five without a job has limitations") featuring a tasteful guitar solo from brother Tyler Burkum.

The Everly Brothers influence is most prominent on the ballads "I'm Calling You," which sounds like it could have been a pop hit in the early '60s, and "Got A Lotta Love," reminiscent of the Everlys' more country flavored efforts from the late '60s/early '70s. The uptempo "Please Don't Call Me Crazy" recalls '90s Canadian country rockers the Blue Shadows while the country ballad "I Am the Road" appears to allude to a Johnny Cash classic with the reference that "you gotta walk the line."

There are some tracks with lyrics a bit cliched as with "Desperado" ("You're so cool, baby, I'm no fool/Takes one to know one, and I found you") and others such as Burkum's "See It Through" and the title track with repetitive lines, but even these songs are so nicely performed that they are ultimately enjoyable. Produced by Burkum and Torrey, the sweet harmonies, solid compositions and stellar instrumentation throughout make this a fun listen.