By Lilly Doolin
Brothers Page Burkum and Jack Torrey, known as vintage folk/country duo The Cactus Blossoms are about to go on tour to promote their newest album Easy Way. The two took some time to talk with WERS' Lily about favorite tour stops, the classic folk scene in Boston, and what it's like owning their own record company.
The Cactus Blossoms will be at The Sinclair on April 12th.
You guys released Easy Way, your second album on March 1st this month, so congrats on that. What has the fan response to the album been like so far?
Jack Torrey: Well, we're just getting ready to hit the road here in a week. So, we're excited to actually get out there and play all these new songs for everybody in places we haven't been in a while, so honestly, we don't know yet!
And the first stop of the tour was on your home turf in Minnesota, right? Were you excited about that at all?
Page Burkum: We've played quite a bit. We just played at a record store the night before our release date here in Minneapolis. But our first couple shows are in Iowa and Chicago coming up.
How excited are you guys to be going on tour soon?
J: We're ready to hit it hard, it's going to be a fun six weeks on the road.
Is there any show in particular that you're excited for? Any cities you guys are excited to be visiting again?
J: I'm not sure, that's hard to sum up. I know for sure we're going to get some bagels in Montreal. Maybe some Pastrami sandwiches.
P: It's usually the food in different cities that we've been to before that we get excited about [laughs]. Someone in the band will remember the name of a good restaurant as we're approaching the city.
Returning back to Easy Way, do you guys have a favorite song off the album? Or a favorite song to perform?
J: They've all been pretty fun. We started out the year with a few shows doing a residency in the bitter cold at the Turf Club in St. Paul. That was the first time we really started all the songs off the record. It was really fun for me to start playing the song "Boomerang," because I wasn't sure about it-you never know until you do something. That's been fun for me.
P: We've also been playing the song "Desperado." One of our guitar players will start the song out on some shakers. It's just a pretty fun jam.
How has it been for you guys to produce your own music under your own label, Walkie Talkie Records? Does it change the process?
J: It's been pretty wild. A lot of people told us it was going to be a lot of work, and they were right [laughs]. But it's been fun and it's been a huge learning experience working through every possible angle on a project.
P: We can't complain about our record deal at all, because the only people to complain to are ourselves (laughs). That's an okay thing.
J: And it saves a lot of time [laughs].
I'm sure! What was the production process for Easy Way like? Was it any different from your previous album, and how do you two work together in the studio?
J: It was interesting. We were still touring quite a bit, finishing up touring on our album You're Dreaming. We just started booking studio time because we knew if we didn't, we wouldn't make it happen. We just started putting studio time in all the gaps when it worked with peoples' schedules. The fun part about it this time was that we didn't have all of the songs coming in, so we were working on the whole thing as we went, which adds a little excitement to it. It makes me want to jump in the studio right now.
P: This time, we recorded this album with the same engineer who recorded our last album. His name is Alex Hall in Chicago, so that was one thing that was similar this time around.
You guys said that you have a band as well that you play with. Do they play in the studio with you, or is it just you guys working together?
P: We have a bit a road-hitting cast with us live and in the studio. We've used our live band in the studio, and we've used some folk who don't play with us live normally in the studio. It's been really fun.
J: We get them on stage with us when we can [laughs].
P: Yeah, it's a little bit loose. Seems to work out that way.
Now have you guys ever played Boston before?
P: Yeah, a couple of times with other folks. We played at the Sinclair about a year ago.
Are you guys excited to come back this time around? Do you have any favorite memories from a show or the time you've spent here in Boston?
P: Totally, we're excited to go on all the windy roads in Boston and get lost (laughs).We're fans of the folk singing that happened in the 60s there in the neighborhood where the Sinclair is. We know some older folk musicians from Minneapolis who have played there, so that's something for us as a Minneapolis band, seeing where some of the folks we looked up to played.
Now obviously you guys just released the album and are about to go on tour, but are there any other projects you guys are working on right now, or are you totally focused on hitting the road and promoting Easy Way?
P: Well, yeah, it's pretty much just touring now. Maybe this summer we'll get creative again, or hopefully, on the road we will. There's only so many miles and so many hours in each day.
Do you guys find that once you release a project and go on a tour that it's sort of a time for respite after, or are you always itching to get back in the studio?
J: I try to overhear people's conversations on the road to steal some lines for sure [laughs].
Great, thank you guys so much for your time! We can't to see you at The Sinclair