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eTown: The Cactus Blossoms / Charlie Parr

This week on eTown, all our musical guests join us from “The Land of Ten Thousand Lakes” – Minnesota. The Cactus Blossoms are led by brothers, Jack and Page and perform their own flavor of alternative country music. Charlie Parr shares the bill and is joined by Nick, Helen and The eTones as they play some wonderful country blues tunes. Nick also has a sit-down with accomplished rock climber and climate activist, Tommy Caldwell.

The Cactus Blossoms

The Cactus Blossoms perform live on eTown on April 3, 2024

Page Burkum and Jack Torrey a.k.a. The Cactus Blossoms broke out nationally in 2016 with their JD McPherson-produced debut, You’re Dreaming. Dates with Kacey Musgraves, Jenny Lewis, and Lucius followed, as did raves from the New York Times and NPR, who praised “the brothers’ extraordinary singing.” The band was further catapulted into the spotlight in 2018, when David Lynch tapped them to perform in the return of Twin Peaks, and continued to build on their success with their 2019 sophomore LP, Easy Way, which led Rolling Stone to laud the duo’s “rock-solid, freak of genetics harmonies.”

The performances are warm and intimate to match, delivered with a soulful, ’70s-inspired palette of playful Wurlitzer, breezy guitars, and muscular percussion.

Charlie Parr

In the music of Charlie Parr, there is a sincere conviction and earnest drive to create. The Minnesota-born guitarist, songwriter, and interpreter of traditional music has released 19 albums over two decades and has been known to perform up to 275 shows a year. Parr is a folk troubadour in the truest sense: taking to the road between shows, writing and rewriting songs as he plays, fueled by a belief that music is eternal and cannot be claimed or adequately explained. The bluesman poet pulls closely from the sights and sounds around him, his lyrical craftsmanship built by his influences. The sounds from his working-class upbringing—including Folkways legends such as Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie—imbue Parr’s music with stylistic echoes of blues and folk icons of decades past. Parr sees himself merely as a continuer of a folk tradition: “I feel like I stand on a lot of big shoulders,” he said in an interview. “I hope that I’ve brought a little bit of myself to the music.”

Tommy Caldwell

Interview guest Tommy Caldwell appeared on eTown on April 3, 2024.

Tommy Caldwell is widely recognized for his record-breaking ascents on the granite walls of Yosemite Valley. From his childhood in the mountains of Colorado to a professional life spent climbing in wild places around the world, Tommy’s connection to nature has always been deeply personal and offered him an up-close and unique view of the threats facing our wild places. He has been published in multiple media outlets, and his memoir, The Push: A Climber’s Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond Limits, is a New York Times best seller. He is currently a Global Sport Activist® ambassador for the outdoor clothing company Patagonia, inspiring climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts to fight to protect the one and only planet we call home.