The Cactus Blossoms to record live album at Turf Club
Photo by John Ratzloff
After this month, they'll be gone, gone, gone, and cryin' won't bring 'em back. Okay, they won't be long gone, but after July 22, close-harmonizing brotherly country act the Cactus Blossoms will call an end to their year-and-a-half-long Monday-night residency at the Turf Club before embarking on a festival tour. But no real cause for cryin': They plan to return to the club, which has obviously been good to them, and which they describe as their favorite bar around. Heck, their faces still adorn a mosaic on the east side of the building, so how could they not?
Tonight, the band will kick off their final month of shows with a special four-hour live recording show at the Turf, featuring co-singing brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum backed by the talented lineup of Randy Broughten (steel guitar), Josh Granowski (upright bass), Jed Germond (fiddle), and Patrick Harison (accordion). Expect the live album to be released on CD and vinyl later this summer. Gimme Noise caught up with Burkum for the details on this live album... and also looking for a little reassurance that there should be no tears over their departure.
"We're really grateful to have had the chance to play at a great music spot like the Turf every week," Burkum explains, "but we never planned to do it forever and it just feels like now is the right time for a change."
The Cactus Blossoms' debut self-titled album, released just under two years ago, made a big splash locally and drew a sizable number of new fans to their Turf Club nights. It seems appropriate, then, that they'd bring those fans along for a follow-up live album. Also returning to the project are Broughten, as well as Brent Sigmeth (engineering/mixing) and Doug Van Sloan (mastering). "They're the same guys who did our last album and they both have great ears and lots of experience," Burkum adds. "It also helps that we'll have Scott Watson at the board running live sound. He's run sound for us every Monday since our residency began so he's very familiar with what we do and understands the room."
The decision to record the live album at the Turf was obvious. "If our only goal was to record some songs we could go to a studio, but this is about more than just music -- we want to capture the venue, the bar staff, and the entire audience." And as for that audience, it will feature two Cactus Blossoms regulars. "DJ Lonesome Dave" Hoenack, well-known for running local music and vinyl haven Hymie's with his wife, Laura, will be spinning records at the show, and bartender Daniel will no doubt be slinging drinks -- or at least singing along.
"We've loved having Dave as a frequent guest at the Turf Club. He and his wife, Laura, have been really supportive of our band from the start -- by selling our CDs at Hymie's (even though we didn't press it to vinyl), inviting us to play at their awesome events, and just by having faith in our band and encouraging us along the way. Dave has been spinning records at our Turf shows once a month for about a year now. He's used it as an opportunity to delve deep into his country and early rockabilly collection, and he always picks the good stuff. He's been to so many of our shows that I think he could probably sing along word for word with every song we do. Our bartender, Daniel, is the same way... Dave and Daniel could probably do a really funny impersonation of us!"
The band have learned a lot from their long stay at the Turf. "Our band is a live kind of band. We use every show we play to work out our songs and develop our parts and I think we've come a long way."
What can we expect next from the Cactus Blossoms? After their final Monday show, they'll head west to play shows and festivals in South Dakota, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, including the Pickathon Music Festival outside Portland, before heading south to the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia. "The town is in both states," Burkum explains. "(It) has a lot of history and is where the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers were first discovered and recorded for Victor Records in the 1920s, so it will be fun to poke around town." And from there, there are possible talks of releasing their debut album on vinyl, and another studio album down the line.
But what are we now to do with our Monday nights? "We have so much good music in this town," Burkum reassures. "The Roe Family Singers have been playing Mondays at the 331 for years now and they're always great. Go see 'em!"
The Cactus Blossoms will be recording their live record at a Friday night show, July 5, at the Turf Club, 8 p.m., $10.
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