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Music Review: 'You're Dreaming,' The Cactus Blossoms

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Music Review: 'You're Dreaming,' The Cactus Blossoms

Music Reviews

Music Review: 'You're Dreaming,' The Cactus Blossoms

Music Review: 'You're Dreaming,' The Cactus Blossoms

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/471316356/471316357" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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If you listen to the Cactus Blossoms, you will definitely be reminded of the Everly Brothers. But Minneapolis brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum are much more than a tribute act. Music critic Meredith Ochs says the duo's gorgeous harmonies and ageless sound spell out just the beginning for these brothers.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now the music of the Cactus Blossoms - two brothers from Minneapolis, Jack Torrey and Page Burkum. Meredith Ochs has our review of their latest album. It's titled "You're Dreaming."

MEREDITH OCHS, BYLINE: There are no harmonies like those linked by genetics. The Cactus Blossoms follow in the footsteps of many bands of brothers.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TRAVELER'S PARADISE")

CACTUS BLOSSOMS: (Singing) Goodbye, sure is good to know you. I'm so thankful for you.

OCHS: But while their melodies recall the Everlys, the duo looks back even further for inspiration to early country acts performed with spare accompaniment.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TRAVELER'S PARADISE")

CACTUS BLOSSOMS: (Singing) I'm gone, but not forgotten. Troubles, sure, I've got them.

OCHS: The Cactus Blossoms keep the instrumentation minimal and retro-sounding - vintage guitars with gentle reverb, understated upright bass and light drumming on a small kit. The songs' arrangements underscore the brothers' extraordinary singing, the drums dropping out at times while the voices continue their graceful glide.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOU'RE DREAMING")

CACTUS BLOSSOMS: (Singing) I'm not sleeping, I'm not walking. And you can't hear my talking when your eyes are closed.

OCHS: It's no coincidence that this album is called "You're Dreaming," and one of the Everly Brothers' biggest hits was "All I Have To Do Is Dream." The Cactus Blossoms play on a few Everly song titles, and even their personal style - thick, dark hair combed up and neat suit jackets - are an homage to the '60s duo. But if they use one of their favorite groups as a template, Jack Torrey and Page Burkum distinguish themselves with clever lyrics that stand on their own.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CLOWN COLLECTOR")

CACTUS BLOSSOMS: (Singing) She's a honey bee looking for a net 'cause she's a clown collector.

OCHS: In this song, they summarize the struggle in a relationship with a love and war metaphor in just five words.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CLOWN COLLECTOR")

CACTUS BLOSSOMS: (Singing) I'm conscientious, she's an objector. She's a clown collector. To be a knife thrower, I've got to practice for years. If Annie Oakley missed, she never shed any tears. History repeats all the time. It's going to make you laugh when the clown starts crying.

OCHS: In the hands of lesser songwriters, this might be a tribute act. But the Cactus Blossoms' creative turns of phrase, gorgeous harmonies and ageless sound tell me that this is just the beginning for these brothers.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IF I CAN'T WIN")

CACTUS BLOSSOMS: (Singing) See the shadows over there? When the dim-lit -

CORNISH: Meredith Ochs is a talk show host and DJ at Sirius XM Radio. She reviewed "You're Dreaming" by the Cactus Blossoms.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IF I CAN'T WIN")

CACTUS BLOSSOMS: (Singing) I make them high -

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