Acclaimed duo The Cactus Blossoms‘ latest project pays tribute to one of music’s most beloved and celebrated songwriters.
Brothers Page Burkum and Jack Torrey’s upcoming EP, If Not For You (Bob Dylan Songs Vol. 1) will hit streaming services on Sept. 30 via Walkie Talkie Records. Today (Sept. 12), The Boot readers are getting an exclusive sneak peek of ”Tell Me It Isn’t True,” the duo’s reimagined version of a cut from Dylan‘s influential 1969 record Nashville Skyline.
“I’ve always liked the raw emotion of the song… you don’t know if he’s just jealous and delusional or if she’s really seeing someone else,” Jack Torrey tells The Boot. “That vagueness and earnest attitude in the lyrics feels universal somehow.”
The Cactus Blossoms elevate the slow-rolling groove of Dylan’s original with the addition of their perfectly-melded harmonies and rich accompaniment. The track’s thoughtful production allow each element, including the stirring piano lines and acoustic guitar, to perfectly anchor Burkum and Torrey’s heartfelt vocals.
Get a first listen to the duo’s take on “Tell Me That It Isn’t True” below:
Torrey cites Dylan as a longtime inspiration and creative guide over the years, helping him to build his own trademark sound alongside Burkum. The urge to continue the artistic energy that flowed during the process of creating their impressive 2022 album One Day served as the catalyst behind If Not For You (Bob Dylan Songs Vol. 1).
“We had recorded a version of ‘Went to See The Gypsy’ a while back and we were thinking about doing an EP of other people’s songs, but then it just made sense to stick with all Dylan tunes,” Torrey explains. “He’s written a million songs and he’s always been an inspiration for us.”
This spark of inspiration led the brothers to take on “Tell Me That It Isn’t True,” along with three more Dylan tracks that left a lasting impression on the duo.”So many of Bob Dylan’s songs are filled with wonderful phrasing that doesn’t really lend itself to harmony singing, so we got together and started singing some of his songs to see which ones we could bend into our world,” Torrey adds. “His songwriting on the Nashville Skyline and New Morning albums are such departure from his ‘mid-60s rock’n’roll poetry and they really comfortably fit into our wheelhouse without us having to imitate his unique style.”
To coincide with the EP announcement, The Cactus Blossoms have also plotted a brand new set of tour dates, which stretch into Feb. 2022. They’ll travel across the U.S. through the next six months, including stops in Washington D.C., Atlanta and Charlotte.
The Cactus Blossoms’ 2022/2023 Tour Dates:
Sept. 12 – Sioux Falls, S.D. @ Washington Pavilion (w/ Wilco)
Sept. 16 – Fridley, Minn. @ Forgotten Star Brewing
Sept. 28 – Somerville, Mass. @ Crystal Ballroom at Somerville Theater
Sept. 29 – Burlington, Vt. @ HG Showcase Lounge
Oct. 1 – Fairfield, Conn. @ StageOne
Oct. 4 – Vienna, Va. @ Jammin Java
Oct. 5 – Washington D.C. @ Kennedy Center Millennium Stage
Oct. 6 – Carrboro, N.C. @ Cat’s Cradle Back Room
Oct. 7 – Charlotte, N.C. @ The Evening Muse
Oct. 8 – Atlanta, Ga. @ The Earl
Oct. 13 – Stoughton, Wis. @ Stoughton Opera House
Oct. 15 – Mankato, Minn. @ Hooligan’s
Oct. 16 – Brooklyn Center, Minn. @ Minnesota Monthly’s Rhythm & Brews
Nov. 26 – Viroqua, Wis. @ Historic Temple Theatre
Feb. 23, 2023 – Bellevue, Wash. @ Wintergrass Music Festival
Feb. 24 – Bellevue, Wash. @ Wintergrass Music Festival
13 John Prine Lyrics That Prove He Wrote Like No One Else
Prine’s lyrical stories were both fantastical and simple; he wrote with a Midwest-bred honesty and humor that kept listeners on their toes. His catalog, spread over 18 albums, contains vivid stories (“Lake Marie”), insightful looks at the human condition (“Hello in There”) and sweet love songs (“Aimless Love”).
These 13 Prine lyrics — largely pulled from his songs’ choruses — are some of his very best: