It was already afternoon by the time I woke, the night had been a gloriously late one with The Dirty Creek Bandits and Tyrannosaurus Chicken peeps and I didn’t make any plans for the next city after their show. It was a Sunday, so I figured it would be my off day/night. Have a leisurely drive and stop wherever I felt like it.
As I lay their chilling in the hotel bed (I splurged and got a room), I had an itching in my fingers and I pulled the technology closer…. I keyed up the map and saw that Albuquerque was a little over 4 hours away. Hmmm. Albuquerque. Hmmm. I had a great time in that town on the 98′ cross country tour, very hospitable town (thank you Lee Francis). I typed “Albuquerque live music” into the search bar, expecting nothing, yet the first thing that popped up was Cactus Tractor at the Skarsgard Farm Folk Circus Festival! All those words sounded amazing and awesome. I used the Facebook search option and soon was grooving to a few beautiful tunes rich with a vibrant clarity. How could I not experience this? I found Cactus Trucker’s email address and sent them a message and hopped out of bed to pack. By the time, I had thrown all my things in a bag, I had an email from the band telling me to drop on by the circus and I jumped in the car and pointed Elvira west.
Bye Texas! Hello New Mexico!
The evening skies in New Mexico are a site to see. It is epic in the vastness of beauty. Land and sky going on and on, forever, and I lucked out with a sunset sky full of big white puffy clouds. Love this part of the world. I could easily get lost in creating landscape images like Phil Hawkins (well, not like Phil, he is incredible…but to dream to make images like Phil…..) but I was on a mission, a musical mission and so I snapped with my phone and let my camera relax till showtime.
When I arrived, I met up with Meredith Wilder of the band Wildewood (they had played earlier in the day) and she was coordinating the event with Skarsgard Farms. She gave me a lay of the land, I had found myself in the middle of a desert circus and it was gorgeous. Jugglers, aerialists, musicians and revelers were everywhere. I had definitely found the right spot to be on this night of The Rock and Roll Highway!
The band that attracted my music photography loving self to the event was Cactus Tractor and from the images on their site (great band photography) and the clips that I heard, I knew I was in for some great music. It was a treat reading their description on their Facebook page.
“Cactus Tractor is a seven-person Bohemian Pop Folk Disco (beau-pop-faux-disc) band based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with four songwriters, toothsome harmonies, and a multitude of fun stringed and unstrung instruments. These include, but are not limited to, the hula horn (invented by Christy), the musical saw (which is dangerous), the violin (which is also dangerous if you’re standing just to the left), the accordion (which is heavy), the charango (which attracts a lot of attention despite its small stature—much like its player, Stef!), buckets-and-buckets-full of harmonicas (which often fall on the ground and cause great consternation), frogs (which croak when struck with a stick—try it out!), and tea towels (which, laid artfully over a snare drum, make for a proper English quiet-funky kit sound). “
As the Albuquerque Aeraelist Collective flew over head Cactus Tractor gave a rocking, folky, bluesy, fabulous show with some of the most beautiful harmonies I have ever heard. They all played like a bajillion instruments as well (as listed out in their description above) and wow, those voices, they played their voices. They weren’t up there merely singing, they were adding layers upon layers upon layers to the music with their song. Their voices were all as finely tuned as the instruments they strummed, beat and blew. I want to lay outside in a big grassy field, or more aptly on a blanket with the wide world all around and lay there and just listen and listen to them. They somehow capture the sound of this part of the world, the music is as vast and encompassing as the land stretching out for miles and has a warmth and beauty to it like the setting sun while also being so clear and pure and simply beautiful as a Prickly Pear bloom. I am enamored.
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