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This filmed music series features local and nationally touring musicians performing in the Lake Effect Surf Shop in Shorewood. Live at Lake Effect is hosted by Lake Effect’s Audrey Nowakowski and Milwaukee musician Trapper Schoepp.

The Cactus Blossoms: Live at Lake Effect

"Live at Lake Effect" is our music series featuring local and nationally touring artists performing in the Lake Effect Surf Shop in Shorewood, Wisconsin.

We brought the Lake Effects together, along with Visionary Studios, to showcase musicians once a month through an interview with the band exclusively on Lake Effect, plus filmed performances. Today, we have The Cactus Blossoms, made up of brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum from Minneapolis, Minn. Since 2011, the American alternative country and indie folk band have played a variety of genres, highlighting the duo's vocal harmonies throughout.

Burkum says they naturally developed their sound starting with listening to The Everly Brothers, the Beatles, and more. "I was kind of naturally drawn to that 60s kind of music, but really I think we loved all sorts of music and we really got into folk and country stuff," he says. "Then, when we started singing together ... when you sing country or when you sing country songs with harmonies they kind of turn out sounding a little bit like Everly's songs."

Torrey adds, "In some ways it was by accident where you got into all this other musical stuff, kind of came back to the Everly's later and realized we're playing music in this wheelhouse. And since then we've changed things and we certainly don't feel like we need to use them as any kind of model, but we try not to stick to any pattern and formula and just follow the songs where they take us."

"We try not to stick to any pattern and formula and just follow the songs where they take us."
Jack Torrey

From first starting out with Western swing, to country, to alternative rock and more, the sound of The Cactus Blossoms also naturally changes with the band makeup. "Right now we kind of have a little bit more of some classic rock, just drums and electric guitars and stuff, but it is interesting to see the audience shifts a little bit with of course with what styles of music you're making," notes Burkum.

Just as their styles of music have changed, so has the brothers' songwriting process. When the band first formed, Torrey was the primary songwriter and Burkum's harmonies followed. Over time, Burkum started writing more and they started working together.

"We don’t really set out to write together, but sometimes there’s just something that isn’t quite finished yet and the other person has the right idea for it and that kind of happens musically, too," he explains.

This collaborative approach adds to The Cactus Blossoms' naturally gentle sound, evident even in their 2022 record made in unusual circumstances during the pandemic — One Day. The brothers got together to demo their songs in a basement with whatever instruments they had before bringing the rest of the band into the picture once it was safe to.

The Cactus Blossoms' surf shop session included three songs from the album: 'Runaway,' 'Is It Over,' and 'Hey Baby.' "That [album] was exciting and really fun to record once we got a chance to," recalls Torrey, who wrote 'Hey Baby.' "Page wrote one called 'Is It Over,' and then we worked on 'Runaway' together, so it's kind of a nice little trio — my song, his song and our song."

The Cactus Blossoms' new album called Every Time I Think About You will be out August 30th. "We don't set out to write songs around a theme, or to make a cinematic record where every song ties into the next. But I think it ends up happening when all of the songs are kind of written in close proximity," notes Torrey.

The upcoming album's production was also a world of difference compared to making One Day over the course of three days in a basement.

"This time we got to bring our song ideas to the band, drink coffee, hang out, jam on ideas over a couple of months and then go into the studio. [We just had] fun playing together, so that was a huge, huge difference with this one. It was a lot of fun for us," he adds.

SET LIST

  • Runaway (0:10)
  • Is It Over (2:50)
  • Hey Baby (5:25)

MUSICIANS

  • Jack Torrey: vocals, guitar
  • Page Burkum: vocals, guitar
  • Jeremy Hanson: drums
  • Jacob Hanson: guitar
  • Phillip Hicks: bass

Live at Lake Effect Team:

  • Executive Producers: Audrey Nowakowski & Trapper Schoepp
  • Audio Engineering: Jason Rieve
  • Location: Lake Effect Surf Shop in Milwaukee
  • Production Company: Visionary Studios
  • Camera Op: Kelly Pudroski & Jessica Wolff
Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Trapper Schoepp is co-executive producer of Live at Lake Effect, a filmed music series from WUWM's Lake Effect.
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