With their 2009 debut, Lookin’ For A Little Strange, MN quartet The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra announced itself as a powerful, complex melting pot of styles. Now, they’ve upped the ante even more on their sophomore effort, All Out of Peaches—it’s a mesmerizing record.
The GCO consists of John Wright (bass), Lisi Wright (fiddle), Dan Neale (guitar), and Mark O’Day (drums/percussion). Categorizing themselves as “newgrass” (progressive bluegrass), they add a lot of flare and complexity to fiddle-focused instrumental folk. Their influences include Chick Corea, Jethro Tull, Rush, Dixie Dregs, Frank Zappa, and John Coltrane and, somehow, it all fits together expertly. All Out of Peaches is a vibrant showcase for top notch musicianship, engaging melodies, and alluring dynamics.
The title track starts the record off with the type of intricate melodic structures King Crimson popularized forty years ago. If “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Pt. II” had a southern rock edge, it would sound like this. The group constantly shifts moods and tempos as they complement each other like a musical jigsaw puzzle. The poetic fiddle solo “Ruby” transforms into the affective “Paparazzi” seamlessly. A calmer, more emotional piece, it’s highlighted by the fancy playfulness of each instrument.
Every track on All Out of Peaches offers something exciting and new while maintaining the signature GCO formula. “Memo 9,” “Five Up Front,” “Blaze,” and “At Cross Purposes” continue the trend of well arranged, technical progressive rock, while “Cajun in Spurs” is more danceable bluegrass and “Straight to the Top” is a guitar focused collage of chords and arpeggios similar to YES’ “The Clap.” “Ragabilly” has a classical construction, and “Minion” prides itself on the insane syncopation of O’Day and bass lines of Wright.
Throughout All Out of Peaches, the quartet plays as if sharing one musical brain—they’re impeccable. Each musician offers his or her expertise, and it’s easy to marvel how they could even compose this stuff (let alone play it). More so than ever, the GCO prove to be progressive bluegrass visionaries fearless in experimentation and flawless in execution. They’ve definitely set the bar high for its follow-up.
Check out some live performance footage of the GCO here.