One of my pet peeves is when someone says “There isn’t any good new music nowadays”.

If you think that you are wrong. There is always excellent music being made by someone somewhere, no matter what style of music you like. Sometimes you have to do a little digging, maybe research on the internet, read some magazines (yes, they still exist), or talk with friends with similar tastes as you. The Record Archive newsletter and website always list the most recent releases, along with upcoming stuff for you explore. Sometimes I might even have a recommendation or two here on this blog.

This week is one of those times I have something brand new for you to check out… a band I’ve never heard of until about ninety minutes ago as I write this. The album is so new that it doesn’t even come out for another week. I’m lucky that I still have a contact or two from my days on the radio and occasionally get sent goodies from record companies.

Yes, I hear you yelling “Who is it?!?!?!?!”

The name of the band is Cole Quest and the City Pickers, and their 6 song E.P. is called “Self (En)Titled”. I’ve now listened to the whole thing three times, and I like it a whole bunch. It makes complete sense that Cole Quest is the grandson of the immortal Woody Guthrie (and nephew of Arlo).

Quest and his band give us a collection of excellent original (but old timey sounding) bluegrass and folk songs. You can’t help but hear the influence of his more famous relatives, but still makes the sound his own with the help of a Hammond organ adding an extra layer of depth to the tunes. It’s like occasionally having Booker T. Jones, Gregg Allman, or Steve Winwood pop in to jam with Old Crow Medicine Show or Alison Krauss.

If this sounds like it might be pleasing to your ears I suggest you take a chance on something new and get a copy HERE.

As long as I’m writing about new CDs I may as well bring up one I’m having a love/hate relationship with… “Now And Then” by Paul Stanley’s Soul Station. Yes, it’s the Paul Stanley that is the lead singer of Kiss (or is it KISS? I’ve seen it as both. What do fans of the band prefer?). He now has a solo album filled with covers of soul songs from the 60’s and 70’s that he loves. Check it out HERE.

My conflicting feelings regarding this album have absolutely nothing to do with my dislike for Kiss/KISS. Stanley sounds amazing singing everything from “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love” by The Spinners, to “Tracks Of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson, to Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”.

The band (Soul Station) is also top notch… they couldn’t be better if they were a supergroup made up of the Booker T. and the M.G.’s, The Wrecking Crew, and The Funk Brothers. Every note played by the musicians is perfect. Every line sung by the backup singers flawless.

So what’s the hate part of “love/hate”? Everything is TOO perfect.

When a cover band is playing at a bar or wedding I understand trying to be as close to the original as possible, but if given the chance to record your own version of a classic song there should be something unique about it. Give the songs your own little twist.

Why do I need Paul Stanley and Soul Station’s version of “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)” when The Temptations version is already (in my opinion) the greatest song of all time? At least when the Rolling Stones covered that song it sounded like The Stones… not as good as the Motown version, but unique. Now what I really want is an album of soulful originals from Stanley’s talented side project. The fact that I want something related to Kiss/KISS is half a miracle anyway.

Yeah, I know, there’s no jokey references to 70’s sitcoms or anything this week. Sorry. This column is as laugh free as A Very Special Episode of “Hello Larry”.

That’s all I have for this week. Stay safe and stay healthy.