The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
The Death Whisperer Series available at

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Guitarist Erick Turnbull & La Crema Pinot Noir

Erick Turnbull is my featured guitarist today. In 2005, he was the Canadian National finger picking champion. I have his new CD and it’s filled with good stuff. I’ve placed links to several videos of him playing on YouTube, but they don’t really do justice to his playing. Songs like Jazz in AM, Ladders, and A.D.D. will make you start swaying to the groove. Egypt starts out like an old English lute tune. Very nice. You can check out his CD at or Amazon. You can also preview much of his CD at Check him out on MySpace.

Low C:This seems to be his signature song. Very intricate picking/fretwork and nice harmonics. The song really moves.

Bomba Checka: Really funky. It’s got a great groove.

June Tune: Kind of a mellow song, almost Celtic in its feel.

Watchtower: Nice version of the song. This has always been one of my favorites. Always loved the Jimi Hendrix version, which, in my humble opinion, is one of the greatest rock songs ever. He sings on this one and his vocal style fits nicely.

Although I can’t drink wine right now because of my diet, I have a backlog of elixirs that I haven’t written up. So for today, how about a La Crema 2006 Sonoma County Pinot Noir? $19.00. Medium bodied with a bouquet of strawberries, cherries and a touch of vanilla. A bit denser than most Pinot’s, which makes it tastier and fuller in the mouth. Complex and elegant with a soft texture. Flavors matched the bouquet. Mild tannins and a long finish. All in all, a very nice wine.

Pick up a copy of Erick’s CD, a bottle of La Crema Pinot Noir, and a copy of my latest book, Rise of the Fallen at, Barnes and Noble,or through any bookseller and chill.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Andy McKee and the Best Cabernet

Andy McKee’s playing is incredible. He’s one of the most original guitarists I’ve ever heard. In 2001, he was the youngest competitor to ever place in the top 3 at the Winfield National Fingerstyle Guitar Championships His videos are some of the most watched on YouTube. I believe he’s in the top five for the site so if you haven’t heard or seen him, there’s plenty of opportunity. Very listenable, but for a former bassist like myself, he can bring some pretty funky stuff. Again, if the links don't work, cut and past them into your browser. don't mis his playing!

Art of Motion: really fun, funky tune with great percussion and a nice melody to go with the beat.

Keys to the Hovercar: His mix of percussion and melody just amazes me.

Africa by Toto:

All Laid Back and Stuff: On of my favorites. Very sweet melody and beautiful harmonics.

Dreamcatcher: Very quiet, pretty tune. I could drift away on this one.

The Friend I Never Met: Plays a harp guitar here. Very intricate harmonics. Michael Hedges sounding tune.

Yesterday was Valentine’s day and I have to admit, I broke my diet (I’m down 22 pounds in four weeks so what the heck). I saw that my local wine shop was clearing out overstocked inventory and had a 2004 Whitehall Lane Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon marked down from $50.00 to $33.00. I realize this is over my usual $25.00 price limit, but hey, it was Valentine’s day.

This Cabernet is a deep red color. It has a gorgeous nose of blackberries, plums, blueberries, and spice with cherry-vanilla undercurrents. Very fruity on the palate with cherry, blackberry and spice flavors jumping out at you. The finish is remarkably long with a velvety texture and subtle oak and tannins that don’t overpower. I think this is one of the best Cabernets I’ve ever tasted. My wife agreed. The Wine Enthusiast gave it a score of 91. Personally, I’d give it a 95. Next time you’re in the mood to spurge, try this one. You won’t be disappointed.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Guitarist Kelly Valleau and overpriced Pinot Noir

Tonight I’m featuring a nylon string picker. Kelly Valleau is a classically trained fingerstyle guitarist who leans toward the Spanish style. He’s not a slapper and tapper but has a beautiful sound and style. Great for listening to while you’re reading or working on your next novel. Very precise fingerwork and to-die-for tone. Interestingly, he also does some cool contemporary stuff. I love his rendition of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.” Check him out below. You can get his CD’s at CandyRat records ( ). Again, if the links don't work, cut and paste them into your browser.

a)Another Brick in the Wall:

b)Fur Ludwig: flamenco/classical fusion:

c)Requiem: classical style; nice use of harmonics:

d)The Bull Run:

So, while I was out in San Jose, I decided to celebrate a good presentation I made by cheating just a tiny bit and having a glass of wine with my dinner. I ordered a glass of Alma Rosa 2006 Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir. The Wine Spectator gave it 90 points so I expected it to be good. Alma rosa wines are highly rated by the Wine Spectator and others. It didn’t disappoint. Very nice balance and smoothness. Sweet cherries and red rasberry flavors with balanced tannins and a nice long finish. But here’s the rub: this wine will run you $35.00 in the store. For that kind of money, you’d do just as well with a Pinot Noir from Cartlidge and Browne or Kim Crawford, both of which rate about 89 from the wine magazines, but which cost $15.00 and $19.00 respectively. Don’t get me wrong, the Alma Rosa was very good…but not $16-$20.00 better than the other two. See, pragmatism has its place when selecting a wine.