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Cactus Hunters (Rustic, 2003)

Cactus Hunters

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

The Woodstock, N.Y.-based Cactus Hunters' self-titled debut release reveals varied influences from the past, particularly that of previous Woodstock residents The Band. The Band's impact is most strongly felt on the country weeper "Lonesome Cowgirl," the uptempo "Halfway To Texas" and the Dylanesque ballad "Roam."

It is also apparent that Johnny Cash is a favorite as "Rain, Rain, Rain" and "I Got The Bait" recall Cash's Sun days, and Cash is mentioned by name in "Lonesome Cowgirl." Lead singer and songwriter Lance Juckas' vocals at times recall Ben Vaughn, particularly on the ballad "Heartbreakin' World" and the rockabilly "Sooner Or Later." Elsewhere traces of the Rolling Stones can be heard in the rocker "Kicking The Mule," and the bluesy "Angels In The Backseat" is reminiscent of the Del Fuegos.

Though this may not be "Music From Big Pink" songwriter Juckas and the Cactus Hunters deliver an impressive and promising debut.

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