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Water runs through it: Cactus Tractor’s album covers many genres

Albuquerque-based Cactus Tractor has a new album called “Lydian Water Songs.”

Albuquerque-based Cactus Tractor has a new album called “Lydian Water Songs.”

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In a way, water courses through much of the music of the dryland band Cactus Tractor.

In the process of writing the compositions for its self-titled debut album, the band realized that just about every song had water references – such as rain or rivers.

With its current second album, the Albuquerque-based band was aware that there were also many water themes running through it, said David Bashwiner, one of three musicians fronting Cactus Tractor.

That new album is titled “Lydian Water Songs.”

“Most songs are in major and minor modes. Lydian can be thought of as something similar,” Bashwiner said. “Some of those songs on the album are in part Lydian and with some it’s the whole thing. …We decided to make up an imaginary world of ancient Lydian people composing these songs.”

Bashwiner, Stef Graner and Christy Cook are in fact the band’s three main songwriters.

“Lydian Water Songs” could be considered a concept album, more so than its debut recording, he added.

Cactus Tractor will be in concert tonight at the Outpost Performance Space.

All 14 of the band’s musicians heard on the album will play in the concert.

However, Cactus Tractor isn’t always a big band. It can have – and will have in the concert – as few as three or five players depending on the song.

Bashwiner, who organized the band about 3½ years ago, acknowledged that it’s tough to describe its music.

“So we made up a genre – Bohemian-pop-folk-disco,” he said. “I like that you can’t really figure out what it is but it opens up a lot of possibilities.”

Bashwiner, an assistant professor of music at UNM, recommends that listeners come to the concert with an open mind. And open ears.