Blue Cactus

Chapel Hill, NC


When Chapel Hill modern country duo Blue Cactus released their self-titled debut last year, Steph Stewart and Mario Arnez’ devotion to the rules of honky-tonk seemed clear. On the stunning “I Never Knew Heartache (Then I Knew You),” the pain in Stewart’s voice finds strength from crying pedal steel; the chorus even suggests an ode to Patsy Cline’s Jordanaires.  But with recent single “Radioman,” Blue Cactus moves out of pure twang with space-rock-inspired guitars that soar and rich harmonies that keep the tune rooted on pure country ground.