On Saturday, March 26, the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, a “Newgrass Art-Rock” ensemble from Minneapolis, Minnesota came to the Barge Canal Coffee Company. They gave a memorable performance that was enjoyed by both Hamilton residents and Colgate students alike.
The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra played a wide range of music in various styles that were undoubtedly satisfying to the audience members. Their styles ranged from country and bluegrass to rock music and more jazzy tunes. Additionally, they played international songs such as “Raga Piloo,” which is from India, and told the audience that they had to guess the country that the song originated in.
Galactic Cowboy Orchestra performed had some energetic and fast-paced songs whereas others were more laid back. They did various covers of well-known songs including Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi,” however, they added many of their own twists, mixing it with various instrumental pieces. Much of what they performed was purely instrumental, yet they did include some vocal duets that contained beautiful harmonies. The band had many self-written songs as well that were also wonderfully composed and well received by the audience.
Hillary Stark, a first-year who was in attendance stated how “the group impressed [her] with their diverse range of song styles. Some pieces had a bluegrass twang while others were jazzy and relaxed. It takes true talent to accomplish this.”
The eclectic ensemble had four extremely talented members. Dan Neale on guitar, Lisi Wright on fiddle, John Wright on bass and Mark O’Day on drums/percussion. Each member has had a long history and background with music, and has worked with many musical greats of different genres. Dan Neale is a “Semi-Regular” on Garrison Kellor’s A Prairie Home Companion and was in the House band of the Buddy Holly Fiftieth Anniversary Tribute. Lisi Wright has played with Martin Zellar and Mick Sterling. John Wright has been a member of the Celtic/American Folk/Folk-rock band Lehto &Wright. Lastly, Mark O’Day has toured with blues legend Willy Murphy and is endorsed by Paiste Cymbals.
All of the musicians as they played and danced passionately along to the beat as they performed, which added to the overall experience. While together, the quartet had a unique and eclectic sound; however, each performer had at least one brilliantly executed solo during the performance.
The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra has gained much popularity over the last few years among audience members of all ages. Two of their songs were in A Prairie Home Companion in 2008. The band has also released two CDs, the first entitled Lookin’ For A Little Strange, in 2009, and the second All Out of Peaches was just released this year. Their popularity can also be seen by their various upcoming shows throughout multiple states in the US. Their music is also available on iTunes.