The Cactus Blossoms at Stuart’s Opera House

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The Cactus Blossoms came to Nelsonville’s historic Stuart’s Opera House from Minneapolis by way of Chicago, the brotherly duo personifying all the amiable charm that the American Midwest is so famous for in their appearance, friendliness, and, most importantly, their warm, romantic sounds. Only a few hours ahead of their scheduled backstage show on October 22, 2019, the brothers gave WOUB an exclusive three-song set performance with their touring band, all of the tracks released earlier this year on Easy Way, a collection of self-produced songs that the duo knit together at Alex Hall’s Reliable Recorders studio in Chicago.

The new record is delightfully eclectic, drawing from both relaxed, ethereal sonic palettes familiar to fans as well as sounds that are new in the group’s musical vocabulary: delightfully raucous ones that feel like they take more from the rock ‘n’ roll sensibilities that have always been evident in the band’s work.

The measured, plunky “I’m Calling You” opened the set. The narrative of the song highlights the emotional (or perhaps spiritual) strain between conforming to social niceties (there’s that Midwestern sensibility showing!) and acting on one’s impulses, exemplified by refraining from — and then caving to, calling someone the protagonist of the song can’t seem to get off their mind (as Hank Williams Sr. might say) in the wee hours of the morning.

The pervasiveness of the train song in musical culture has long affirmed that the human experience — especially in post-Ford America — can be morphed in a million clever ways to fit metaphor about trains and cars and other methods of self-reliant travel. The band’s next song, “I Am the Road,” feels like a play on that, if only in it’s rhythmic locomotion and the choruses’ linear subject.

“See It Through,” the final song of the set, features celestial twangs of steely guitar overlaying chiming rhythm strumming and a carefully undulating bass line; not unlike the dreamy sounds that landed the band as the performing act at David Lynch’s Roadhouse in the third episode of 2017’s Twin Peaks: The Return.

Watch for another Radio A Session coming to you from someplace outside the walls of the studio in early 2020, because The Cactus Blossoms’ opener, Esther Rose, also provided an exclusive show for WOUB before her Stuart’s performance.

0:07 – “I’m Calling You”
3:23 – “I am the Road”
6:15 – “See It Through”

Producers: Emily Votaw, Adam Rich, Josh Miller, Evan Shaw
Audio Engineer: Adam Rich
Videographers: Evan Shaw, Josh Miller, Hunter Wurzelbacher, Chad Reich
Video editing: Evan Shaw and Josh Miller

Special thanks to Stuart’s Opera House for use of their space and time before a show!

Check out the last time that The Cactus Blossoms were featured on WOUB, earlier this year for an interview with Emily Votaw, as well as back in 2017 on one of WOUB’s Gladden House Sessions.

If you are a musical act interested in appearing on WOUB’s Radio A Sessions, email Emily Votaw at or call her at 740-597-1492.