Album Review

Blue Cactus Take Center Stage with Debut LP

Blue Cactus - Blue Cactus


There’s a subtle but beautiful elegance in the music of Blue Cactus, which sometimes takes their authentic tunes to unexpected places while remaining firmly in the wheelhouse of their chosen genre. Today the duo releases their highly-anticipated debut, Blue Cactus, and the timing is just right.

The first single, “I Never Knew Heartache (Then I Knew You),” is a touching song in which Blue Cactus guides the listener on an emotional rollercoaster of loving and losing. The lyrics coupled with vocalist Steph Stewart’s convincing tone paint a picture of pain and heartache. The instrumentation is classic country; there’s a beautiful sforzando guitar strum throughout the song that really tugs at the heart strings (pun intended). A quiet piano accompanies a relaxed drum cadence, while accent instruments dance softly in the background creating a melancholy sound of beauty.

“From The Bottle To The Floor,” allows musician Nick Vandenberg the opportunity to take the lead, and he doesn’t disappoint. His voice is smooth and consistent as he proves he has great range. His tessitura is perfect and he encompasses each note with tremendous emotion.  With the help of vocalist Chessa Rich and Blue Cactus bandmate Mario Arnez joining him for harmonies, the piece is perfection.

Just like the other tracks I had the pleasure of experiencing, once again the group does not disappoint in the instrumentation department. The guitars are blended perfectly with the sentimental piano, a strong drum cadence, and the background vocals which harmonize effortlessly.

Jumping over to “Forever (Never Happened For Me)” we experience a smorgasbord of sound. It’s a little bluesy, a little country, and a lot of passion.  Steph’s voice is beautifully modulated, her tone passionately controlled, and the pitch is perfect. The song itself is tells a story, draws a line, and has that certain “twang,” you can feel deep down in the soles of your feet.  The track is narrated so well vocally it draws the listener into a bevy of emotion. A part of you will get angry, a part of you weepy, but you will enjoy the beautiful riffs, vocals, and strums presented on this track and the record as a whole.

If you’ve ever wondered about the beauty of where Country and Americana music is going, look no further, Blue Cactus, is painting beautiful pictures of limitless possibility.

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