Adding a funky and fun coating over progressive blue grass jazz rock (quite eclectic, huh?), The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra’s debut LP, Lookin’ For A Little Strange, is a very cool, calming and complex release by a promising and professional quartet.
The band hails from Minnesota and consists of established musicians Dan Neale (Guitar), Lisi Wright (Fiddle), John Wright (of Lehto & Wright – Bass), and Mark O’Day (Drums). They define their music as “Chick Corea meets The Dixie Dregs meets A Prairie Home Companion,” and their influences also include King Crimson, Tool, and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Lookin’ For A Little Strange is very appealing, with each new listen revealing something new to grab your attention.
“The Biscuit Breakdown” begins the album in a fast paced and groovy way. The bass dances around as the fiddle and guitar exchange solos over simple chord changes. There are a few rhythmic changes and it’s more like an especially technical hoedown than anything else. This is the formula and vibe that the album sticks to throughout, but it’s never repetitive, as each track offers significant variations, and a few differ from the sound substantially.
A more somber and quiet mood comes with “Soft Pour,” which carries an air of remorse in its strings and guitar, and “Raga Piloo” introduces an Eastern flair and a proggy structure due to a more disjointed, puzzle piece construction. One of the heavier tracks, “Dark Matter” is what Rush would sound like if they included country instruments.
“Driving South Wes” definitely carries the same sense of intricate counterpoints Return To Forever did so well, and Chick Corea would fit in perfectly with his unique piano style. The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra close the album with two more relatively heavy tracks, “Missing Parts” and “Odd Men Out,” that effortlessly invoke the essence of John McLaughlin in the guitar tones and song structures.
Lookin’ For A Little Strange incorporates so many styles so fluidly that it’s hard to imagine a music fan who won’t be impressed and intrigued by it. The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra has introduced itself wonderfully, and a sophomore effort is already heavily anticipated.