Author Archives: ryder cooley

Dust Bowl Faeries

Dust Bowl Faeries is a gypsy-­folk ensemble with a dark cabaret twist. The unique compositions of Dust Bowl Faeries have roots in klezmer, circus and old-timey music. Accordion, singing saw, ukulele, lap ­steel, electric guitar, bass & percussion combine to create the Dust Bowl Faeries’ otherworldly sound. The band was founded by artist­-musician Ryder Cooley in 2013 as a girl group trio. The group has now expanded to include five generations of musicians including Karen Cole, Jen DuBois, JoAnn Stevelos and Aaron Martin. Hazel, a taxidermy ram, joins the Faeries as mascot-spirit animal.
Dust Bowl Faeries have performed in numerous venues and festivals including the Steampunk Worlds’ Fair, Club Helsinki, Universal Preservation Hall and the Tang Museum. Their debut album was released in 2016 and features guest musicians Melora Creager (Rasputina) & Tommy Stinson (Replacements).
VIDEOS – Seasick Moon | Owl Song | Great Whiteish Bear
DBF Album | DBF Soundcloud  |  DBF Bandcamp | Chronogram Review

(video by Chris Pellnat)

The Dust Bowl Faeries released their debut album in March of 2016. The album has been described as “a song cycle that leads listeners through darkness and light, from dream-pop to drone-rock, from girl-group harmonies to Velvet Underground-like textures, from the Arctic and into the forests, up the Hudson River on a steam-punk voyage to the psychedelic Gypsy cabarets of futures past, from cutting-edge electronica to wispy neo-folk tunes, and to netherworlds beyond” (S.R.)



(band practice at the cat rescue, 2016)

Dust Bowl Faeries, winter 2016

Happenings in the new year
Our New Album is almost done! Please join us on March 6 for our album release concert at Club Helsinki in Hudson, NY.
We are still raising funds for post-production. To pre-ordering the album or make a donation please visit our campaign page: Faeries New Album

1. JAN 28           Preservation Hall, Saratoga NY, 8pm, $15

2.FEB 27            Upstate Artists Guild-Gala, Albany NY, details TBA

3.MAR 6             Club Helsinki, Album Release Show! Hudson NY, 8pm

Dust Bowl Faeries, Autumn 2015

Dust Bowl Faeries are recording, we will be in the studio September 19-28th.
-October 3: Dust Bowl Faeries & Rasputina, Enchanted City-Queens Ball, Takk House, 55 3rd St. Troy NY, 6:30-10pm
-October 15: Dust Bowl Faeries, Marc Delgado & Knotworking at The Low Beat, Albany NY, 8pm
DBF Kitch bestPSs

Our New Album

DBFDust Bowl Faeries is going into the studio in September to record a full-length debut album! In order to fund the recording, we have launched an Indiegogo campaign, where you can pre-order downloads and CD’s. You can also make larger donations, and in exchange we will adorn you with an assortment of offerings, including original artwork, concert tickets, commissioned music, private serenades and more. Please visit our  Indiegogo page for the complete story. Thankyou!
(photo by Abigail Cole, 2013)

Review: Home Bass 2 at Club Helsinki Hudson


Here’s Enid Futterman’s lovely review of the Habitat for Humanity benefit we played on January 4 at Club Helsinki:
Last night, I got Dust Bowl Faeries. I saw them at the Spotty Dog on a night last summer, when Ryder Cooley, the faerie queen, hid behind Hazel, her stuffed ram. The lighting was dark, and the mix was off, so I could neither see nor hear her well. I managed to hear and like a song about Hudson well enough, and liked it even better at Helsinki. The Faeries (the other two are Sara Ayers and Karen Cole) are originals, an acquired taste perhaps, but I have now officially acquired it, after only two exposures. They play a witches (bitches?) brew of instruments—accordion, lap-steel guitar, electronic piano, ukulele, and sometimes, but not last night, musical saw, but unlikely as it sounds, it sounds great. Cooley adorns herself like a slightly mad child/woman, sings with a throaty voice that can summon elemental beings and animal spirits, and talks with the same voice in a lower register, in a seemingly diffident and tentative, but probably assured, inherently comic way, on script and off-the-cuff both.

Read the rest here.


Seth Rogovoy Review, 2014

Hazel and Ryder Cooley of Dust Bowl Faeries (photo Seth Rogovoy)

Hazel and Ryder Cooley of Dust Bowl Faeries (photo Seth Rogovoy)

Dust Bowl Faeries
Club Helsinki Hudson
Hudson, N.Y.
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Review and photos by Seth Rogovoy

(HUDSON, N.Y., June 29, 2014) – It’s not every day you hear a trio comprised of accordion, synthesizer, and lap-steel guitar. In fact, it may be never, if you never see Dust Bowl Faeries. Which would be sad for you, because based on the chamber-folk trio’s performance at Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday night, it’s a singular experience that leaves you moved, bedazzled, and wonderful, in the literal sense – full of wonder, almost like a child, about just what it is you are seeing and hearing.
What you are seeing and hearing is the logic-defying art of lead singer-songwriter and visionary C. Ryder Cooley, who in addition to playing accordion, with occiasional turns on ukulele and musical saw, is a noble and ennobling presence onstage, mated as she is with Hazel, a disembodied taxidermy ram. Together, they are sort of like a pushmi-pullyu, if you remember your Dr. Doolittle, although they seem to have worked out for the most part where they both want to go.

Cooley’s partners-in-crime are Sara Ayers, herself a visionary electronic artist and keyboardist, and lap-steel guitarist Karen Cole. All three sing, and at times their winsome harmonies recall those of the Roches (at other times, they recall anything but the Roches). Another defining aspect of the trio is that pretty much none of them play their instruments the way you normally expect. That is to say, if you’re like me, the thought of listening to a set of music on accordion, lap-steel, and, especially, ukulele and musical saw (synthesizer I have no problem with), is not an enticing proposition. Somehow, however, the combination of the blend these three instrumentlaists come up with, as well as their unique musical voices, easily makes any predisposition against what you are hearing magically disappear.
Because what you wind up hearing, the way they play and sing, is music of such haunting beauty, even as it is slightly unnerving and unsettling (just the sight of Hazel staring at you, as she does for most of the concert, has been known to make the weak of heart a little nervous), that you forget yourself and enter into this fantastical realm – Ryder’s realm, presumably – where seemingly age-old folk dirges rub up against Central European-like cabaret melodies, peppered and accented with electronic skronks and up-to-the-minute beats served up by Ayers and eerie, very non-guitar-like tones coming out of Cole’s guitar.
Although any sort of stage setting was modest, and the costuming was, indeed, somewhat faerieish, one can’t underestimate the effect the visual and performance aspect the musicians bring to their show. It’s quite subtle, but Cooley and company create a mood as much with their personas as with their music, so by the end, on some level, you realize you just were privy as much to an art installation – call it performance art if you must – as a concert.
And as for that end, it was pitch-perfect with a radically reworked but totally on-the-mark and suitable rendition of the Velvet Underground classic, “Venus in Furs.” Any darkly haunting moody art-rock is going at some point to have to take the measure of the Velvet Underground, which veritably created the genre. That Dust Bowl Faeries, who are based in Hudson and the Capital Region and can be seen every few months or so somewhere in the general vicinity – did so and wholly, boldly made it their own is simply more to their credit.
The evening’s festivities at Helsinki were actually headlined by Albany-based chamber-pop group Swamp Baby, but by time Dust Bowl Faeries were done I had enjoyed my fill for the night and walked home bewitched, bothered and bewildered by their mystical trance-folk.
Click here for more photos.