The Cactus Blossoms 'Self-Titled' Self-Released

Just when you think that country music has slipped into the crossover pop vortex some music comes along to restore your faith in some real hardcore traditionally influenced examples of the form. Those who miss the early days of BR5-49 when Chuck Mead and Gary Bennett shared the lead vocals on a set of "true stories" will be well pleased with the Cactus Blossoms. The two main men are Jack Torrey and Page Burkam who have their sibling harmonies down to a T and individually sound like they were running around the honky-tonks with their heroes. This short 10 track CD is lean and effective with the original songs, largely by Jack Torrey, sitting easily beside classic songs from the early 50s era. Two feature here, the traditional Lost John Dean and Alton Delmore's Blue Railroad Train which show the versatility of the vocalists and the supporting players - who are Mike Razz Russell on fiddle, Randy Broughten on upright steel and bassist Liz Draper. This trio add much to the overall sound of this tight Minnesota-based combo and balances youthful exuberance and experience This is as fine as a debut album as you could wish for and highlights the enduring nature of country and, yes, western music.