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Wednesday, July 18: Al Perry, Hans Olson, Kevin Daly, and Nina Curri @ Rhythm Room

Talk about a lineup -- half of this bill appeared on our 100 Songs That Defined Arizona list. Al Perry's cover of Bloodspasm's "We Got Cactus" functions like an unofficial state anthem, and Hans Olson's "Western Winds" helped rep the year 1973. Add in rockabilly legend Kevin Daly, and jazzy singer/songwriter Nina Curri and you've got a smattering of some of Arizona's most revered musical figures. Perry discussed "We Got Cactus" with New Times.

"'We Got Cactus' is the ultimate Arizona and Tucson song," says Tucson's Al Perry, a member of the Tucson Music Hall of Fame, a weekly DJ on local community radio station KXCI and an enthusiastic collector of all Arizona music (he's also running for president, FYI).

"It hit me right off the bat. The greatest songs you can write are the ones that stick right in your head. It's not just a song, it's an anthem, plus with the local lyrics, you've got something that's very special."


Al Perry, "We Got Cactus"

Al Perry, "We Got Cactus"

​Perry recorded his own version of "We Got Cactus" at the end of a WaveLab Studio session with Calexico's Joey Burns and John Convertino. He lifted the country-ish arrangement from Tucson musician Slack Mac, whose version Perry heard in the late 1990s.

"It never occurred to me until we were sitting in the studio and we needed one more song. All of a sudden it went viral. It took on a life of its own after we did it. I cannot go out and do a gig without somebody requesting that song. Everybody associates this song with me, but I didn't do a thing. I didn't write it, I didn't arrange it, I just sang it at one session."

"The thing about that song is it will be great no matter what style you record it in. We could make a disco version of this and it'd sound great. It passes every test you would want to make of a great song." -- Eric Swedlund (Read more about "We Got Cactus.)

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