The Cactus Blossoms: We see the Turf Club as our workshop

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A year into their two-steppin' friendly Monday night residency at the Turf Club, the Cactus Blossoms have become a mainstay not only of that St. Paul stage, but of the country and folk scenes here in the Twin Cities. No strangers to the road, they've got a full docket of travels ahead of them as they embark for a number of dates throughout the country, where they will no doubt be embraced as just as beloved as they are right here at home.

In anticipation of their Saturday night appearance at Lee's Liquor Lounge opening for country traditionalists Foghorn Stringband, we caught up with brothers Page Burkum and Jack Torrey for an update on -- pardon the pun -- what is blossoming lately for the band.

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The Cactus Blossoms revive classic country

Gimme Noise: First off, we have to ask - what's it like seeing your mugs on the side of the building every time you go to the Turf Club?

Jack Torrey: I always smile and think of Angela Talle who made the mural one little hand cut tile at a time. I think she did a great job capturing the personality of each person up on that wall. Especially our fiddler Razz and our good friend Zen Glen.

Aside from a break here and there, you've been going strong with your Turf Club residency for over a year now. How has your Turf gig evolved over that time, and what do you anticipate for its future?

Page Burkum: We love the Turf Club! We've been there just over a year and it's been a great experience on many levels. We see it as our workshop and a place to develop and improve our sound each and every week. The audience is sometimes listening very very closely and it really keeps us on our toes.

One of those breaks was to travel west for a brief tour. Any more plans to hit the road? And how do audiences outside the Twin Cities react to your music?

JT: We'll be doing more traveling this spring, summer, and fall than we have since our start. Sometimes as a two piece and with the full band as well. Kentucky and Tennessee will be fun. I heard they have this delicious brown water they make down there. New York City will be exciting to see for the first time. We'll be in Portland, Oregon for the Pickathon Festival in early August, which we played at last year and enjoyed a lot. And of course, we can play everywhere between the cities because what we do resonates in rural communities. Singing "San Antonio Rose" somewhere in Texas might just make a home cooked meal appear before your hungry belly if the right person hears you.

You've played with the Foghorn Stringband before; what should we expect out of your Saturday night show?

JT: I was going to say DANCING! But you never know with Minnesotans and their snowboots. You should expect to see one of the best damn fiddle-tune-playin-bands in the world singing old songs and new ones with heart and soul. They've got some of the best grooves around!

In addition to the Foghorn Stringband, are there any other acts you'd suggest fans of yours might keep an eye on, or any records they should be sure to pick up?

JT: Our friend Jack Klatt just put out a solo album called Love Me Lonely, and it's really good. Great songwriting, guitar playing, and singing. There's a band out of Vancouver called Petunia & The Vipers that has been fun to watch. They are incredible and it would be great to have them play in Minneapolis sometime soon.

If the opportunity ever presented itself, we'd take Little Jimmy Dickens hostage until the Grand Ole Opry gave y'all a spot on its roster. Do you have any hopes, plans or schemes for that sort of recognition within the Nashville establishment?

PB: Little Jimmy Dickens having a spot at the Opry is like Al's Breakfast having a spot in Dinkytown. They're the last man standing and everything around them has changed. We'll be playing a few shows in Nashville this year so we'll see what happens.

The Cactus Blossoms open for Foghorn Stringband Saturday at Lee's Liquor Lounge. 9 p.m., $12. Click here.


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