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Fusing jazz, classical, bluegrass, southern rock, Indian ragas, plus their own original stylings — The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra (GCO) plays with fire, precision and commitment.

Bassist, John Wright, started the band in 2008. He wanted to create technically challenging, improvisationally based music. He started jamming with guitarist, Dan Neale and drummer, Mark O'Day. Violinist Lisi nudged her way in after hearing rehearsal tapes that husband John Wright brought home. "She had never played jazz or progressive rock before... I honestly didn't know if it would work," said Wright. After the first rehearsal with Lisi, it was clear they had a band! 3 years later, the band has an impressive list of performance credits!

The band has toured throughout the US. They have shared the stage with the British progressive rock band, Uriah Heep, and performed at the Shakori Hills Grass Roots Festival (Pittsboro, NC), Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park (Chicago, IL), the MN State Fair and headlined a stage at the Riverbend Festival (Chattanooga, TN - attended by 50,000-80,000 per day).

GCO performs in clubs, theaters, performing arts centers and festivals. GCO also performs symphony programs.

Educational outreach program incude: The Creative World of Improv (Improv 101), Educational Performance and Remembering Through Music (an outreach program for senior homes). These programs are adaptable to specific curriculums – working with students on improvisational skills or speaking with students about life as professional musicians.

Combining virtuoso musicianship with adventurous writing and an ear for the unexpected, this quartet will awaken the senses with both their instrumental prowess.
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LISI WRIGHT – Violin/Vocals – Lisi started playing the violin at the age of 5 on a cute little 1/4-size violin. From there, she has played in a few country bands - Tim Sigler Band, Mark Stary & The Whiskey Roses and you can still find her on stage with The Geoff Elvee Band - as well as popping in for a couple years with Martin Zellar & The Hardways and playing the occasional Mick Sterling, Shalo Lee or Alison Scott gig. Lisi is the founder/president of New Folk Booking. She is endorsed by Bridge Violins.
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DAN NEALE – Guitar – Dan Neale is one of the Twin Cities’ most adored pickers. He 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.
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JOHN WRIGHT – Bass – 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 environments 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. Concurrent to his live performances, John has developed his skills as a recording engineer/ producer with over 75 full length CD's and countless other sessions on his resume, making him an in-demand producer in Minnesota and beyond. He is the founder of The Villa Recording Studio in Savage, MN.
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ALEC TACKMANN – Drums - Born and raised in Rochester, MN, Alec Tackmann has been a musician for most of his life. After high school Alec was accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. While at Berklee, Alec studied primarily under Rick Considine and Terri Lyne Carrington among others. After four years he completed his Bachelor of Music in drum set performance including an internship at Capitol Records in Hollywood, CA. Upon finishing Berklee, Alec moved back to Minnesota to build a career as an independent musician; keeping a rigorous performing schedule while maintaining a private teaching studio of roughly 45 students per week. Alec is the author of the GoAndPractice series of drum instructional books, based upon his popular YouTube channel of the same name.
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“Musically inventive and sonically charge, GCO transported the audience to a new artistic plane. What energy! What joy! What a terrific show!”
- Steve Schmidt, General Manager, Riverside Concerts, Rochester, MN

“I would heartily endorse the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra for any venue...Great music, wonderful musicians, a pleasure to work with… They are expert musicians who also love what they do, and it shows in their performance.”
- Roger Anderson, Chairperson, Richard G. Hardy Performing Arts Committee, Cambridge, MN

"The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra: great talent & high energy! This concert brought new audiences to our venue. Our students loved the school show, too!"
- Luanne Fondell, Performing Arts Director, Memorial Auditorium, Dawson, MN

"...Wonderful composing, great guitar playing, eloquent violin, inventive percussion, killer bass solos…Will be seeing them every chance I get.”
- Scott Anderson, Manager of Operations, Historic Paramount Theatre, Austin, MN
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“The GCO has a rare quality that distinguishes them from the typical ensemble in that they are not only excellent musicians, but passionate about music education. There are very few musicians or music educators with strong knowledge of modern musical styles that are able to communicate to student’s concepts and techniques that are specific to their genre in terms that the students are easily able to grasp. The GCO is able to guide students in the learning of profound and essential concepts of music making in a relaxed environment that lends itself to the sharing of ideas. Our students had no idea how important the concepts were that they were learning – they just enjoyed the experience…”
-Shawn Brekke, Band Director at Ben Franklin Middle School, Fargo, ND

"Having the GCO visit our public school orchestra program provided a needed jolt of enthusiasm for both our students and staff. Their incredible musicianship combined with personalities that clicked with our kids made for an unforgettable morning."
-Brian Cole, Orchestra Director, Moorhead Middle School, Moorhead, MN

“The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra provided an amazing performance with great sound and a diverse musical range. They appealed to both students and adults and provided constructive educational interactions. It was a pleasure to have had their presence in the Fargo and Moorhead schools as well as other alternative settings. I would highly recommend the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra if you are looking for an engaging, rich, cultural experience.”
-Annette Marchand: Fargo/Moorhead Educator, Y.E.S. (Youth Educational Services) Program, Moorhead, MN

“The GCO was very attuned to our garage band group as they helped them with performance skills, education of music and more importantly, understanding the process of a music group and the complex interactions of the group members as they go through the practice of getting the music refined to play in public.”
-Robert Seim, School Counselor at Ben Franklin Middle School, Fargo, ND