Galactic Cowboy Orchestra will return to The Zephyr stage
What’s with the band’s name? That’s a good question, according to John Wright, the founding member and bass player for Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, which will return to The Zephyr’s outdoor stage for the third time Aug. 25.
Since 2009 when the band was formed, Wright has been quizzed about the unusual name. “I guess I should have a quickly framed witty response,” Wright said. But he didn’t. His answer is as simple as the group’s music is complex.
“We tend to push the boundaries of jazz fusion and progressive rock,” he said. For the band’s four band members, “that was galactic.”
“But our music also has a connection to country and bluegrass,” he said. So there’s the cowboy. Wright was adamant about one thing though. “We are absolutely not a bluegrass band,” he said. (A mistaken billing during a gig a few years ago still rankles him.)
GCO’s playlist is mostly fast and furious. It covers “21st Century Schizoid Man” (King Crimson’s fierce 1969 signature) and “Whipping Post” (the same-year hit from the Allman Brothers) among other hard-rocking songs. And, OK, “Rocky Top” gets an airing, too, but don’t read too much into that country tune. “It’s just fun to play,” Wright said, explaining the wide range of the band’s interests and repertoire.
The group takes pride in tackling music that’s challenging, physically difficult to execute, Wright said. And the demanding music always has substance, “it’s not just flash,” Wright said. “We’re more song based than chops based,” he insisted. And much of the material — about 70 percent — is original.
Dan Neale (guitars and vocals) and John Wright (bass and vocals) are the primary songwriters. Lisa Wright (violin and vocals) and Mario Dawson (drums and percussion) round out the group.
Galactic Cowboy Orchestra will perform at 7 p.m. Aug. 25 on the outdoor stage at The Zephyr Theatre, 601 Main St. N., Stillwater. Tickets are $20 and are available at stillwaterzephyrtheatre.org or at the door. Cash bar open. Bring your own chairs.
“Springsteen With Strings,” Aug. 10
Veteran singer and producer Mick Sterling returns to The Zephyr with a guitar, piano, and string quartet to honor Bruce Springsteen’s music. Anticipate unique renditions of “Thunder Road,” “New York Serenade,” “Incident on 57th Street,” as well as newer songs.
“Springsteen With Strings” will be presented at 7 p.m. Aug. 10 at The Zephyr Theatre, 601 Main St. N., Stillwater. Tickets are $35 and are available at stillwaterzephyrtheatre.org or at the door. Cash bar open.
“The Young & The Rest …,” Aug. 28
SimpleGifts with Billy McLaughlin presents “The Young and the Rest …,” an acoustic tribute to Neil Young; Crosby, Stills, and Nash; America; The Eagles; and more.
“The Young and the Rest …” will be presented at 7 p.m. Aug. 28 at The Zephyr Theatre, 601 Main St. N., Stillwater. Tickets are $25 in advance at stillwaterzephyrtheatre.org; $30 at the door. Cash bar open.
Everything I Own …, Sept. 20
This tribute to the band Bread features Wayne Anthony and an eight-piece ensemble and promises some of the most romantic songs ever written. Bread had 13 Billboard-charting songs, including “Make It With You,” “Baby I’m a Want You,” and “If.”
Everything I Own … will be presented at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at The Zephyr Theatre, 601 Main St. N., Stillwater. Tickets are $35 in advance at stillwaterzephyrtheatre.org. Cash bar open.
Literature Lovers’ Night Out, Sept. 28
Valley Bookseller will present a gathering of national and local authors at The Zephyr Theatre. The featured authors will be Peter Geye (“Sky Jumpers”), Gretchen Anthony (“The Book Haters’ Book Club”), Jillian Medoff (“When We Were Bright and Beautiful”), and Carol Dunbar (“The Net Beneath Us”).
Literature Lovers’ Night Out will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at The Zephyr Theatre, 601 Main St. N., Stillwater. Tickets are $15 and are available at fareharbor.com/valleybookseller. Cash bar open.