Sandy Bell, Two Dark Birds

Sandy Bell is a songwriter, singer and musician who currently calls Woodstock, NY home. She has moved through a vibrant and textured musical constellation, playing most notably with the eternally brilliant Jeff Buckley, and most recently, contributing background vocals on the Mercury Prize nominated ‘Bat for Lashes’ album. While Sandy’s music is expressionistic and lush, she is most interested in the ‘cathartic transmutation of grief into song’.

A 2016 review of her record by music journalist Alex Green honored the album by saying:

‘When I Leave Ohio is beautiful, resonant work that’s stark and painful, oddly comforting and deeply, deeply sad. Sandy Bell’s songs have such poetic precision and crushing emotional exactitude, her work is nothing short of staggering.’

Two Dark Birds

Due for release in October 2017, Bow is the third album from Two Dark Birds, the critically acclaimed band from Pakatakan Mountain in The Catskills. Bow is a cycle of songs about openings and awakenings, about the spirit of nature and the nature of spirit. Recorded in Woodstock, NY with Chris Maxwell, Bow was written and performed by Steve Koester with the assistance of a group of Catskill musicians, including Jeff Lipstein (Lia Ices), Josh Roy Brown, Marco Benevento, Carrie Bradley (The Breeders), Sibel Finn (Silver Jews), Don Piper and Jason Mills.

Prior to Two Dark Birds, Koester also fronted the bands Maplewood, Koester & Punchdrunk, who altogether released eleven critically-acclaimed albums and toured extensively throughout the US and Europe. The music has been called “knockout gorgeous” and “timeless… great rock music” and has received glowing reviews everywhere from Fader and Nylon to The Village Voice and The NY Times, showing up on year-end “Best” lists in Magnet, Popmatters, Rhapsody, Disclaimer and more. Koester has also written, recorded and produced a wide variety of songs for film, commercials and TV.

From the Liner Notes:

About four years ago, I had an odd experience that changed my life. I was walking through the woods on Pakatakan Mountain, the mountain on which I lived, on a hike I’d done daily for years. There was nothing extraordinary about this particular day. I mean, it was beautiful — the sunlight flitting through the bright green early June ash, last fall’s browned leaves crumbling under foot, moss-covered shale poking through the dirt, dried hemlock branches littering the path. I was descending the slope, on the last bit of my loop, when I stopped to catch my breath. And that’s when the extraordinary thing happened — something that’s very hard to explain. Something that was like an opening, or like a pause in time — a fermata. I felt the infinite reach of time in that very moment. Something about the ferns stretching out on the mountain side below seemed at once incredibly ancient and vividly now. I could feel everything that had been in that spot in the eons before me — the settlers who had first put up houses there, the Lenape before them, back to the dinosaurs, and all the way back to when this forest had sat on the bottom of a sea. All at once. The infinite now had opened it’s doors and I had — for the first time, or maybe the first time since I was a kid — walked through.

This is really a pretty poor explanation of what happened, I realize. Prose can’t really describe it accurately and song probably can’t either. BUT, since I’m a songwriter and I process the world through writing little tunes, I wrote “White Birch” as an attempt to get at the heart of this feeling, using a little story about a guy named Dave. A guy probably a lot like me but also maybe a bit like you, I don’t know. This moment, in some ways, was the launching point for the next several years of my life and for the rest of the songs on the album. It set up a trajectory, an exploration. Bow is a cycle of songs about openings & awakenings, and “White Birch” sits at the center. - Steve Koester, 2017

Praise for Two Dark Birds s/t and Songs for the New

“Strange and beautiful… best with a beer in hand beneath a star-punched sky.“ - Nylon

“In Koester’s songs and in his delivery, you will hear the imprint of the broken-but-not-beaten American Bard, from Parsons and Van Zandt to Tweedy. Koester takes on the populist challenge of the form: how to be at once folk-accessible and lit-deep, how to wed image to experience and emotion without ever getting too fine or too poetic for the idiom. Koester hits the mark again and again…’” - Woodstock Times

“…a masterful soundtrack to self-reflection.” - Men’s Vogue

“…one of this year’s most subdued and moving releases.” -The Big Takeover

“Achieves the remarkable feat of rendering domesticity, maturity, and country life every bit as compelling as, say, abandonment, wanton drunkenness, and stealing. The not-so-secret weapon is front man Steve Koester, gifted with the ability to convey shadowy subtext, whether he’s offering tantalizing rearview glances at a reckless past, a paean to the disarming beauty of the Catskill Mountains, or an ode to his daughter.‘” - Chronogram

“Steve Koester is a folk singer whose darknesses and frailty are worn on his sleeve, the kind of sorcery you get from living a life in old mountains like the Catskills. He’s got a beautiful album out called Songs for the New.” - yvynyl



NOTE: This show will now take place at Rockwood Stage 2. Times remain the same. The entrance is located at 196 Allen Street.

There is a one drink minimum for this show (standing and bar stools) and two drink minimum at tables. 

Limited seating is available on a first come first served basis.

Advance tickets are available online until 5:30PM, day of show. Any remaining tickets can be purchased at the door at showtime. 


Upcoming Events
Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2