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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.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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