MUSIC REVIEW | Loud at the Library with the Cactus Blossoms


I feel like I may be becoming an expert on library concerts. I always enjoy the monthly Real Phonic Radio at the James J Hill Reference Library and Thursday night I enjoyed my first Loud at the Library concert with the Cactus Blossoms at the Hill Library.

Loud at the Library is a fundraiser for the Friends of the St Paul Library. The evening included a music trivia, a cash bar and a band. It’s funny what a different feel the Loud at the Library concert has compared to the Real Phonic Radio; both events are fun. Real Phonic Radio is produced by musicians. Loud at the Library is run by librarians. In the spirit of full disclosure – I do have a Master’s degree is Library and Information Science and have worked a Reference Desk so that’s not a judgement, just a description. Let’s just say the lighting at Loud in the Library is conducive to reading a book as well as hearing music. And the night starts with a little trivia.

The music trivia is presented by Jeff Kamin. It was all audio. He plays some music, you name the song and the artist. It includes six rounds with six themes. My team did not do that well – but it was fun. It was a fun way to get to know your neighbors a little bit and librarians and library patrons do like trivia.

After the trivia, Cactus Blossom took the stage. It wasn’t the full band, but rather brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum. The sound was excellent – the music playing off the walls of the hallowed stacks of the library always sounds good. They played a few new songs – by that I don’t mean songs off their last album recorded live at the Turf Club, but songs I actually hadn’t heard before. So that’s always nice. They also do a good mix of traditional blue grass and country covers – including Merle Haggard’s Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down – and original songs.

After an apt introduction, I think a crowd favorite was Today is a Sad Day to be You – introduced as the perfect song to sing to someone who has done you wrong. There were a few people up dancing. My 9 year old date and I were first to the dance floor; we were pleased to see others follow. The waltz (Adios Maria ) may be too slow for us, but there are plenty of song with a good tempo, such as Change Your Ways or Die that are great for dancing.

Cactus Blossoms were actually the penultimate performance in the Loud at the Library series. Johnny and Molly from Communist Daughter are playing April 24. Cactus Blossoms are playing Friday night at the Varsity.

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