Photo by Zach Nichols

Photo by Zach Nichols





AUDIO     |     BIO     |     PHOTOS & VIDEO     |     INDIVIDUAL BIOS

Fusing together 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 Midwest, Mid-South, Mountain and East Coast Regions of the US. They look forward to continuing to spread their tours throughout the rest of the United States and on into Europe and beyond! 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).

The band is available for performances in rock clubs, folk clubs, theaters and festivals. They are also available for arts learning and educational residency opportunities offering an outreach programs: 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.



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.

Lisi Wright – Fiddle – Lisi started fiddling in 2005. Her background spans the genres of classical, country, bluegrass and rock. She played in Martin Zellar & The Hardways for two years, starting in '06, and has played with Mick Sterling, Kevin Bowe and Alison Scott and can currently be seen performing in Mick Sterling's AT CHRISTMAS. Lisi is endorsed by Bridge Violins.

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 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. 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 a in-demand producer in Minnesota and beyond. He is the founder of The Villa Recording Studio in Savage, MN.

Billy Thommes – Drums/Percussion – From his humble beginnings playing in bar bands all over the Upper Midwest, to performing in front of thousands in theaters, arenas and stadiums all over the world, Billy has truly covered the spectrum as a performing drummer. Hard rock to blues, jazz to soul/funk, reggae to country, Billy's rock solid versatility is his calling card. With one gig leading to the next, his talents eventually led him to an 8 year stint with Blues prodigy, Jonny Lang. A heavy touring schedule ensued, performing to packed houses internationally, numerous TV appearances, as well as opening for the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Sting, BB King, and many other legends. Billy is endorsed by Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth Drumsticks, Evan Drumheads and MBW Drums.