Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The state of Minnesota houses its fair share of Vikings and descendents of vikings. They are mostly hearty souls - all of them - because they have to be. Their mothers, their fathers raised them to be that way and they will do the same for their children, even if they are coddled more and addicted to their apps and the easiness of living. Nonetheless, their knuckle and forearm bones have become more chiseled via evolution and its need to adapt to the elements that they're stuck in. The sharper the knuckles and forearm bones, the less you have to rely on ice scrapers to clear your windshield on bitterly cold mornings or nights. Folks up there - near those boundary waters - are more than hearty and bless them for their endurance, stamina and general knowledge of how to prepare their protective coverings for the onset of winter.
You want to picture them in thick coats year-round, with a contraption ready and willing to bore a hole in the lake to pull out that night's dinner. It's the land of all those lakes, but the men in the Minneapolis group, The Cactus Blossoms, can make you feel as if you were the furthest you could ever be from sub-zero temperatures and moderate climates. They put you in the hollers of the Appalachians or the Great Smoky Mountains. They take you to Bakersfield, out with the always sunny days and roaming coyotes - all of them trying to get into motion pictures. They take you into a time warping, against the tumbleweeds and into a place in time when men took pride in their chivalry.
The Cactus Blossoms are a bunch of cowboys or cowpokes or singing cowboys - however they prefer to be seen - who have the finer parts of life on their minds. They might be stumbling through their days, earning slightly less than a meager sum, but they're proud and they're going to clean up good that evening, get themselves a good meal and treat their girls as well as they can possibly afford. They'll be the ones holding doors and making them feel safe through any adversity. They'll smell great after they punch the clock, but the rope burns will never wear clean from their palms and fingers. These are men the way that they used to be - men who would find use for a cabin, a lake, a fire, a lady and some solitude.