Tag Archives: Cara Cooley

Astoria’s The Green Gallows talk rad tunes with a side of whiskey

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Jovani Demetrie McCleary (J. Demetrie Photography)


As they sat in a Hooters an hour away from Chicago, the members of The Green Gallows opened up about the realities of touring, and their slow rise to success.

Hailing from Indiana, Michigan and Washington, Sean Ryan Donnelly, Adam Steiner and Cara Cooley, respectively, now all consider the backlands of Queens their home.

The three New York transplants joined forces in Astoria and formed the folk-rock band about two years ago, playing their first show six months later, and hitting on the road at the beginning of November for their first official tour, with singer/songwriter Meghann Wright.

Prior to joining forces, the “three musketeers” started off as two lovebirds, Cooley and Steiner, who come from a musical performing background and are currently engaged to be married.

Still, Donnelly rejects all chances of being considered a third-wheel; he claims that Cara is more of the third wheel, since he and Adam have known each other for many years. But overall, after almost a month of spending nearly every waking moment together, the band has taken things to “a whole new level,” becoming more like family, with whiskey being the fourth member.

The journey, which Cooley considers “great chaos,” has been an exhausting, yet rewarding one thus far, with only two days off since the beginning of their tour on Nov. 1.

In addition, the band has performed at the Bright Winter Festival in Cleveland, Ohio, and went on a short tour last February after the release of their EP, “Wanted.” Since then, they have performed both locally and on the road, including stops in Orlando, Chicago and Pennsylvania, and have acquired a love for playing road shows because, Donnelly said, it’s “always a treat to play for someone who’s never heard you, as opposed to at home where friends and fans know what they’re getting into.”

Essentially, what guests are getting into at a typical Green Gallows show consists of everything from foot-stomping tunes to passion-filled ballads, and whiskey-drenched performances that the three describe as “very high energy.” In other words, nothing “typical.” Instead, the band takes listeners into a world they have created where “you can expect to be taken out of your life, and whatever is going on in it, to be taken away for an hour – and just have a good time,” says Cooley.

The band will be home for Thanksgiving, and is looks forward to performing locally in Spike Hill, as well as Sweet Afton in Astoria, and more. So far, the band has released one song for download, “Brave Young Soul,” and they have taken it with them on the road, introducing listeners to their sound and style, in efforts to prepare them for their first full-length album, which they plan to record in January.

For more information on their upcoming shows, visit thegreengallows.com.


Astoria Battle of the Beards crowns first champion

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Face fuzz from near and far made its way to Astoria to try and win the title of best of the beards.

The Quays, a corner bar that has been located at 45-02 30th Ave. for over 40 years, hosted the western Queens neighborhood’s inaugural Battle of the Beards on Tuesday, April 8, during a night filled with local music and drinks.

A total of 23 competitors tricked out their facial hair, from full-grown beards to mustaches.


James Albertelli, 50, came representing the Gotham City Beard Alliance to take part in his first competition.

“I haven’t seen my chin in 12 years,” said the Flushing native who now lives in Manhattan. “I hate to shave. It’s easier to grow it.”

Other competitors included Adam Bierton, who has held titles for his stylish mustache, and retired journalist Robert Mullen, also known as “Hollywood Bob.”

The concept of the event and contest came together after members of the local Astoria band The Green Gallows worked together with Tim House, who co-owns The Quays with Dee Flattery, to put together a show. The contest was inspired by band member Sean Ryan Donnelly’s beard.

“Sean has such a great beard and it’s that time of year when people want to shave off their beards,” said Adam Steiner, lead vocalist for The Green Gallows. “It’s a great farewell to winter.”

The other members of the band are Astoria residents Blake Adam “Double Wide” Smith and Cara Cooley.

The night began with performances from Beecher’s Fault, Robbie Cook and The Green Gallows.

After the performances, the first group of beards and mustaches was judged by audience applause. After two more rounds of judging, the final three came down to first place winner Dan Roberts, The Green Gallows’ Donnelly, who snatched second, and Guido Cappello, who took home third.

“To win is great but to win in New York is even better. Here is home. It brings a lot of emotion. It makes me feel so good,” said Roberts, who is from Mattituck, New York, and is one of the founding members of the Long Island Beard & Mustache Society. “It’s not about having a beard. It’s all about having a good time.”

Roberts, who has been growing his winning beard for almost three years and has taken part in various national competitions, took home an aged bottle of Jameson whiskey and a pair of Mets tickets.

The owners of the Astoria bar plan to continue with the competition for the following year and perhaps also add a separate mustache contest to the list of events.

“People came from miles around, and a lot of new blood came to the bar,” House said. “I want the talent to gravitate here.”

The Quays has been the backdrop for a scene in 1993’s “A Bronx Tale” and, most recently, the pilot episode of CBS’s “Elementary.”