Jack Torrey and Page Burkum are The Cactus Blossoms, brothers from Minnesota who deftly apply the sounds and approaches of early country and rock n’ roll into moving contemporary songs.

The singer/songwriter duo recently released Easy Way, the followup to their 2016 debut You’re Dreaming. On the new record, they expand on the intimate acoustic sound of their first album with an electric production reminiscent of 60s Nashville and Los Angeles as heard in artists like Roy Orbison, The Byrds, and Duane Eddy.

To fill out the new sonic palette in their live sets, The Cactus Blossoms added eldest brother Tyler Burkum on guitar, cousin Phillip Hicks on bass, and another set of brothers, Jake Hanson and Jeremy Hanson, on guitar and drums.

I caught up with them near the start of their tour at the Bowery Ballroom in New York to see how they created this amalgam of old and new music.

The Cactus Blossoms (brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum) perform at Bowery Ballroom to promote their new album, Easy Way.

Bassist Phillip Hicks (right) helps Tyler Burkum troubleshoot an amp issue during soundcheck.

 

Eldest brother Tyler Burkum’s Jerry Jones double-neck baritone fills in the layered vintage sounds on the new record.

Page and Jack work out the setlist for the night’s show in the green room.

The band kills some time before going onstage.

The band performs a song, “Adios Maria,” from their first album, as the encore.

This photoessay is the fifth installment in On The Road, a series of visual essays that explores the creative lives of notable musicians, onstage and off.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Recent

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate