Blue Cactus 2022 Nelsonville Music Festival Sycamore Session

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NELSONVILLE, Ohio (WOUB) — Country duo Blue Cactus performed on the Creekside Stage for the Sycamore Sessions as a part of their debut at the 2022 Nelsonville Music Festival. The last stop on their tour, Blue Cactus brought an electric and lively energy for their performance, even in the rain.

The pair is made up of Stephanie Stewart and Mario Arnez, who share vocal and guitar duties. They featured their backing band to help bring their set to life: Casey Toll on bass and Gabe Anderson on drums. Most of the songs they played were from their 2021 release “Stranger Again” (Sleepy Cat Records).

They wasted no time starting to perform, first playing “I Can’t Touch You” before going straight to “Quittin’ Again.” In between songs, Stephanie or Mario would give a little anecdote on the meaning or inspiration behind the songs. “Worried Man” was one of the songs, which was about Stephanie’s grandfather who was a “worrier.” After, they slowed it down a bit with their song “Come Clean.”

Their next song, “Rebel,” featured Mario on the main vocals as he explained it was about growing up in South Florida. The band played their title track, which the album was named, “Stranger Again,” and followed that with “Enough.” Before performing their next song, Stephanie explained that they had quit their jobs to do music full time right when the pandemic hit. “This Kind of Rain” was written after trying to figure out what they should do because of the pandemic.

Throughout the performance, the entire band played in harmony, and the charisma between Stewart and Arnez was evident. Ending their set, they dedicated the song to everyone and people who love music, with the song “Radio Man.”


1. “I Can’t Touch You” – 4:11
2. “Quittin’ Again” – 7:45
3. “Worried Man” – 10:59
4. “Come Clean” – 14:44
5. “Rebel” – 19:09
6. “Stranger Again” – 26:32
7. “Enough” – 30:48
8. “This Kind Of Rain” – 36:00
9. “Radio Man” – 41:44

The Sycamore Sessions are presented by the Nelsonville Music Festival in collaboration with WOUB Public Media and the Ohio University Scripps College of Communication’s School of Media Arts and Studies. The performances were recorded and produced by Media Arts and Studies students under the supervision of Host and Director Josh Antonuccio and Associate Producers – Director of Photography Andie Walla (Media Arts and Studies Associate Professor of Instruction), Audio Supervisor Adam Rich (WOUB), and WOUB’s Arts and Culture Editor Emily Votaw. All performances took place during the 2022 Nelsonville Music Festival, which is a production of Stuart’s Opera House.