By Melanie Yingst
TROY — The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra’s sound is as diverse as its name suggests, yet music lovers won’t want to miss the musical journey the band promises to bring to Prouty Plaza Friday night.
The Minnesota-based band will bring its unique sound to the Prouty Plaza stage beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday as part of the Friday night downtown music series. The performance is presented by the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center and sponsored by the Troy Foundation.
Fiddler and classically trained violinist Lisi Wright said the audience will go on a “musical adventure” with the band’s unique sound and performing arts.
“We call it jazz-grass-art-rock. We really play a pretty wide variety of music, but it does describe it quite well,” Wright said. “We bring a lot of jazz elements and rock elements. We are definitely not a bluegrass band, but we do have some bluegrass elements.”
Bassist John Wright started the band in 2008. He started jamming with guitarist, Dan Neale and drummer, Mark O’Day. Dan Neale has played with Bo Diddley and has performed as a guest artist and a fill-in for Pat Donohue on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” He also performed with Chuck Leavell (keyboard player, The Rolling Stones), Hutch Hutchinson (bass player, Bonnie Raitt) and Kenny Arnoff (drummer, John Mellencamp) in the 50th Anniversary Buddy Holly Tribute, backing such greats as Graham Nash and Wanda Jackson.
John Wright first made his mark in the Minnesota Music scene in 1989 where his versatility on the bass found him onstage with pop fusion/new age guitarist Billy McLaughlin as well as his own Progressive rock band US, who’s debut recording made the cover of the College Music Journal. As the years ensued John found himself in many different musical environment’s from Blues and Soul legend Mick Sterling to a four year run with Minnesota Pop star Tim Mahoney. In 1999, he found time to form the critically acclaimed Celtic/American folk-rock trio Lehto and Wright, still active to this day.
Thommes, the band’s drummer, has performed to packed houses internationally, numerous TV appearances, as well as opening for the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Sting, BB King, and many other legends. This eventually lead to work with other artists, including Soul Asylum, The Honeydogs, and Peter Himmelman and now The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra.
Violinist Lisi nudged her way in after hearing rehearsal tapes that husband John Wright brought home.
“People really love how we put the sets together,” Wright said. “It helps the musical journey along and makes it really fun.”
The Minneapolis-based band sounds like Bela Fleck meets Rush, goes out to breakfast with John Coltrane, and gets home in time to go golfing with Jeff Beck. The band also describes its self as a combination of King Crimson, Dixie Dregs and Mahavishnu Orchestra.
“It goes way beyond that as well,” Wright said. “We have very much enjoyed performing for outdoor venues such as Troy and outdoor musical festivals. What we find is that our audience enjoy the performances because they are ‘hummable’ melodies, which is something we have noticed and grateful for that “Oh good! People remember the melody!’
The band enjoys playing in outdoor venues around the country to soak up the summer sun before heading back to winter up in their native Minnesota.
“There is a performance art element to it all, which does lend itself the outdoors,” Wright said. “The show tends to be a lot of high energy show. We are having a blast on stage and love seeing it transfer to the audience on stage.”
The band also plays a few cover hits to “bring the audience back down” from their journey with the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra.
For more information, visit http://newfolkbooking.com/galactic-cowboy-orchestra or search for them on YouTube for video performances.
Melanie Yingst can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews