High energy & amazing musicianship in a fusion of “newgrass” + rock

Our 2022 Fall Concert Series continues at the Cultural Center with Galactic Cowboy Orchestra (GCO)! Join us in our intimate listening-room-style gallery space to experience this awesome Minneapolis-based band up close and personal.

Adult tickets are $10 in advance (buy online, stop by, or call 218.385.3339) or $12 at the door; students are always $5 (can be paid at the door).  Doors open at 7:00 pm and concert begins at 7:30. Cash bar and light refreshments provided.

Get Tickets for Galactic Cowboy Orchestra! >


Galactic Cowboy Orchestra was started in 2009 by founding member/bass player John Wright. The band was born out of a desire to play technically challenging music derived from John’s influences ranging from Mahavishnu Orchestra, The Dixie Dregs and King Crimson, to name a few.

Wright enlisted the aid of guitarist Dan Neale, who brought to the table many deep Jazz influences in his advanced playing and composing style. Along with the band’s first drummer, Mark O’Day, the beginnings of Galactic Cowboy Orchestra were found. Soon after, violinist (and John’s wife) Lisi Wright joined the band with her aggressive “electric guitar player plays violin” style and engaging stage presence to complete the band’s sound and look.

Fast forward 12 years: 5 studio releases (and one live), two Downbeat Nominations, a Minnesota Arts Tour Grant, collaborations with symphony orchestras, thousands of miles of touring and the band is just getting started. 2021 saw the GCO with a new drummer in Mario Dawson, a new studio release and a stronger than ever ethic to create the ultimate musical moment between the players and the audience with their Art Rock/Jazz Fusion creations.

Join us at the Cultural Center on Thursday, October 27, 2022 to enjoy an incredible night of talented musicians and community connections. GCO (Galactic Cowboy Orchestra) is a band you do NOT want to miss!  Get your tickets today. Call the Cultural Center with questions: 218-385-3339.

Meet the Players:

Photo by Gary Eckhart

Lisi Wright – Violin/Vocals – Lisi started playing the violin at the age of 5 on a cute little 1/4-size violin. She grew up in a tiny town in southern MN that didn’t have an orchestra, so she took private violin lessons while playing French horn in the Blooming Prairie HS Band. From there, she has played with Tim Sigler Band, Mark Stary & The Whiskey Roses, Martin Zellar & The Hardways and you can still find her on stage with The Geoff Elvee Band and Mick Sterling.  Lisi, aka Elisa, founded New Folk Booking. She is endorsed by Bridge Violins.



Dan Neale – Guitars/Vocals – 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.

Photo by Donald Jay Olson

John Wright – Bass/Vocals – 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 CDs 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.

Mario Dawson – Drums/Percussion –

Mario Dawson born and raised in Chicago. He got his start playing in the Apostolic Church at the tender age of 6. Quickly excelling, he started playing for different blues acts in Chicago where he was discovered by R. Kelly. He started touring with him right after he graduated high school. Mario moved to Minneapolis and got busy in that scene playing with Walter Chancellor, Barbara LeShoure, The Family, recording drums and producing at Paisley Park and playing for many other artist in the area. Currently you can catch him playing with GCO, Bernard Allison, Seinabo Sey from Sweden and Vanja Skye from Croatia.

Learn more about GCO: galacticcowboyorchestra.com. Call the Cultural Center with questions at 218.385.3339.