Cole Quest and the City Pickers are a group of New York City musicians connected by friendship and a love of bluegrass. Quest, grandson of the folk icon Woody Guthrie, has brought together a collection of eclectic pickers who have gained recognition on the local scene. Performing both Quest’s original tunes as well as traditional favorites, the City Pickers bring their special brand of high-spirited talent to the stage, with up-beat, knee-slapping energy and a high-lonesome sound that’ll leave you wanting more.
After recording at NYC’s renowned Magic Shop studio and releasing their debut album in 2017, the group has created their first EP, Self [En]Titled, with the help of Grammy®-winning producer Steve Rosenthal and Grammy®-winning engineer Michael Graves. Street date for the Omnivore Recordings CD and Digital is April 16, 2021.
Recorded in January of 2020 in person at Brooklyn’s Conveyor Studios by recording engineer Jason Borisoff, mixed during the pandemic by Tom Camuso, and produced by Rosenthal, the six-track EP contains witty originals and crucial covers for the modern listener. The core band resembles a slightly modified take on the traditional five-piece bluegrass band, consisting of dobro (Quest), guitar (Christian Apuzzo), banjo (Mike Mulhollan), harmonica (Matheus Verardino), and bass (Larry Cook). The album also features the incredibly talented Sam Reider (organ and Wurlitzer), Sean Trishka (drums), and Erik Alvar (bass).
The song “Ostrich Therapy” takes the perspective of someone attempting to hide from the problems of this world (so 2020), while “The Bitcoin Gambler” is a modern John Prine-style take on old gambling songs, with references to the perils of the cryptocurrency market sewn into every lyric. The EP also includes a Woody Guthrie/Billy Bragg cover, “Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key,” re-envisioned with a bluegrass ensemble in mind and featuring Apuzzo’s powerhouse vocals. There’s an original instrumental tune as well, “7-11/Foggy Mountain Rock,” which incorporates a salute to the bluegrass legends Flatt and Scruggs (don’t forget Uncle Josh too). Things slow down with “My Sweet Little Girl,” about the struggles and pain of losing a deeply beloved animal companion. Self [En]Titled ends in a more traditional bluegrass setting with “If I Still Had You,” all the while maintaining folk music’s familiar heartbreak tones, seeded with harmonies and G-runs.
As Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show said, “Great dobro playing, world class harmonica. Damn it sure sounds fun with your City Pickers at the microphone.”
1. Ostrich Therapy
2. The Bitcoin Gambler
3. Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key
4. 7-11 / Foggy Mountain Rock
5. My Sweet Little Girl
6. If I Still Had You