Blue Cactus, the North Carolina duo of Steph Stewart and Mario Arnez, make Dream Country: a blend of grit, glitz, groove, and twang that evokes a celestial soundscape of mid-century heartbreak and harkens comparisons eclectic and iconic as Bobbie Gentry, Fleetwood Mac, and David Bowie. Their sophomore album, Stranger Again, released in 2021 on Sleepy Cat Records, nabbed enthusiastic attention from tastemakers including No Depression, American Songwriter, FLOOD Magazine, Talkhouse, and INDY Week, among others.
Following their critically acclaimed 2017 debut and a string of singles in 2020, Stranger Again saw the band taking their sound to an ambitious new plane, where country-rock and light psychedelia mingle, vocals soaring over twangy slide guitars and propulsive bass lines.
The North Carolina duo have performed at several beloved festivals including Nelsonville, Red Wing Roots, Muddy Roots and Hopscotch and shared the stage as support for an array of artists from The War & Treaty, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, and Lilly Hiatt to Town Mountain and Junior Brown.
Between the comfort of classic country and the glamour of 70s rock, Blue Cactus resuscitates a fleeting style of honest-to-goodness country music considered valueless to a “new” country music where songwriting is officiated by financial analysts and teams of marketing plutocrats instead of woebegone troubadours. With a high lonesome twang, an Emmylou-like southern drawl, and blistering guitar techniques, Blue Cactus exercises the honky-tonk muscles to firmly bear the flag for a new generation of country music.
“Perpetually in humble beginnings, Chicago’s Tobacco City serves up urban country sway for good times and bad. Starting as diner co-workers, Lexi Goddard and Chris Coleslaw began performing Neil Young cover sets and writing their first EP, and in 2021 released their debut full length album Tobacco City, USA (Scissortail Records). The duo’s harmonies provide a bed for their nostalgic, melancholy and often silly lyricism. With rhythm section grooves by Josh Condon and Eliza Weber, and tasty pedal steel additions by Colin Croom, Tobacco City promises a live show that will leave you pining for the next drag.”