The Cactus Blossoms harken back to the roots of country music with their earnest songs and pristine harmonizing. Hearing their music is like traveling back in time to when country music started crackling on the radio for the first time. Surprisingly, band leaders/vocalists/guitarists Jack Torrey and Page Burkum grew up in Minneapolis and weren't even raised on country music. But their tight-knit harmonies mimic some of the early greats. The Cactus Blossoms enjoyed an 18-month residency at St. Paul's Turf Club. Their second, and most recent CD, is "Live at the Turf Club."
The Cactus Blossoms performed at the 35th Annual Sioux River Folk Festival in August, as did Nathan Edwards of Madison, South Dakota. Edwards is a multi-talented musician, composer, producer and professor at Dakota State University. He recorded and released "The Music of Stephen Foster" last year after researching Foster's catalog and the man behind the music. Edwards had already been playing Foster's "Hard Times Come Again No More" as a closer to his acoustic sets. However, Edwards has given the Foster covers an update to be enjoyed by a modern audience. Edwards is currently working on a new CD with hopes of an early 2015 release. He played some of his new material at the 2014 Sioux River Folk Festival.
Both of this week's performances are from August 2. The Sioux River Folk Festival is held annually at Newton Hills State Park near Canton and is hosted by the South Dakota Friends of Traditional Music.