“In the early days of SUSTO I was touring almost completely solo, and the shows had a vibe that was very personal and there was an environment that encouraged me to tell the stories behind my songs. In the past two years I’ve been able to do tours like this in Europe, but haven’t had a chance to do something similar in the US. This tour is meant to remedy that, and to recreate that atmosphere I used to love so much, that intimacy with the audience. I’m looking forward to being there again, and seeing what comes out.” – Justin Osborne
“Round here, you can be however you wanna be,” Elise Davis sings at the end “33,” one of 10 self-empowered southern anthems from her newest album, Cactus.
Released two years after The Token — Davis’ 2016 debut, whose electrified roots-rock sound earned praised from outlets like Rolling Stone Country, Noisey, and The Wall Street Journal — Cactus shows the full range of her songwriting. Here, she moves between lush alt-country and stripped-down folk confessionals, gluing everything together with story-driven songs about independence, liberation, and resilience as an adult woman. If The Token‘s own songs were vulnerable and diary-like, their lyrics pulled from Davis’ past romances, then Cactus turns a new leaf, with Davis taking pride in her status as a single, self-sufficient adult woman. Like the desert plant that lends the album its title, she doesn’t need help from others to grow tall.
“Cacti are independent plants that sustain themselves,” she explains. “They can be beautiful with bright-colored flowers on them, but if you touch them, they will hurt you. I see a lot of parallels with the way I have felt most of my life. It felt like the perfect album title for these songs.”