The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
The Death Whisperer Series available at

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A really good Cabernet Sauvignon

Well, as times would have it, we had to buy a new car last Saturday. My car was just getting too expensive to maintain so we popped for a new one. Later, as I perused my local grocery store, I noticed a wine on the very bottom of the overstock clearance rack, tucked behind a load of beer cases yet to be unloaded. The wine was a 2002 B.R. Cohn Olive Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon priced unbelievably at $25.00. I say unbelievably because this wine usually goes for somewhere between $53.00 and $58.00 locally. B.R. Cohn has consistently produced premier Cabernets from the Olive Hill Vineyard. So, I says to myself, “Self, you just bought a new car. How about we celebrate?” I couldn’t resist so we drank it that night.

The bouquet is pure fruit with a solid dose of black cherry, French oak, and a hint of mint. It’s a luscious wine with flavors of cherry, berries, and cassis with nicely balanced tannins that don’t overpower. Good complexity with an elegant, long finish. It’s always a good idea to keep your eyes open for bargains like this. The B.R. Cohn was an incredible steal. I saw it tonight at my wine shop on sale for $50.00. The taste says it’s definitely a premier wine. If you happen to get lucky and see this one, grab it. You’ll love it!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Winfield Fingerstyle winner Dan Alder

Don Alder is my featured guitarist for tonight. He has awards galore that include place second at the 2006 Winfield International Finger Picking Championships and winning it in 2007. He has an explosive style as you will hear when you view the videos below. He can range from sweet melody like “The Wall,” to the frenzy of Double Cappucino, which sounds exactly what I feel like after drinking an entire pot of French press coffee. Rather than expound further, I will direct you to his website, and let you listen to the music.

The Wall:

Wild and Wicked Batman: Slapping and tapping frenzy.

Double cappuccino: I never imagined anyoe could capture the feeling one gets after a double, but here it is.

Ballad: After the previous number, this is just what you’ll need to mellow out.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Shredder guitarist and The best wines of the past year

Well, I just finished writing a particularly violent scene in my next book and killed off a bunch of people. Since several were shredded, what better time than to review a shredder guitarist.

Yngwie Malmstein is a Swedish composer and guitarist of a different stripe. He is a metal shredder beyond compare and has the most fluid picking style I’ve seen outside of John McLaughlin. His music ranges from the baroque to hard driving metal. Check the YouTube videos out for a taste of something completely different. Sometime ya just got a shred a little.

Acoustic song: Dark Star:

Acoustic guitar solo:

Heavy E Phrygian:

Arpeggios from Hell:

Cavallino Rampante: with the New Japan Philharmonic orchestra, no less!

Icarus Dream with Fanfare: again with the New Japan Philharmonic orchestra

Evil Eye:

I thought I’d recap my favorite wines of the past eight months. Tonight I’ll list the reds. Next time will be the whites. Enjoy!

Cabernet Savignon:
· Whitehall Lane ($37.00)
· Franciscan Oakville Estates $22.00
· Rodney Strong $20.00

Cabernet Franc
· Domaine Gouran Chinon Loire Cabernet Franc, somewhere between $18.00 and $24.00.
· Dalla Vina 2004 Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley: $24.00

· Whitehall Lane $24.00
· Rodney Strong $18.00
· Franciscan $22.00

Pinot Noir
· Paraiso Santa Maria Pinot Noir, Highlands, 2006. ~$15.00.
· Elk Cove Pinot Noir, 2006: Normally $30.00; on sale for $24.00
· Kim Crawford, $19.00
· Cartlidge and Browne $18.00

· Ridge Three Valleys $22.00
· Storybook Mountain Napa Estate, Mayacamas Range Zinfandel. ~ $24.00
· Franciscan $22.00

· Reilly’s “Old Bushvine” Grenache, Clare Valley, Australia. $15.00.

· 2006 Novy Sonoma County Syrah, $19.00


Friday, March 6, 2009

Michael Hedges and Whitehall Lane Sauvignon Blanc

Michael Hedges was one of the most innovative and influential acoustic guitarists of modern times. Originally from Enid, Oklahoma, he obtained a degree in musical composition from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland. While he was and incredible guitarist, what stands out most were his compositions. His 1984 release, Aerial Boundaries, is a mind bogling collection of technique, tone, composition, and expression. Guitar Players Magazine includes him in their list of “25 guitar players who shook the world.” His chief instruments were a Martin dreadnaught guitar and a harp guitar. Unfortunately, he died in December of 1997 in a one-car crash on State Route 128 in rural Mendocino County, about 100 miles northwest of San Francisco. I’ve included some of my favorites below:

All along the Watchtower:


Funky Avocado:


Come Together:

Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major:

Okay, yesterday I passed the thirty pound mark in my efforts to lose weight. Thirty pounds in two months! I’m starting to feel positively svelte. Had to celebrate, so since I love Sauvignon Blanc, I decided to treat myself to a special bottle. I found a 2007 Whitehall Lane Sauvignon Blanc for $16.00. Whitehall lane is probably better known for its Cabernets, Merlots and Pinot Noir’s, but you’re missing something if you don’t try this Sauvignon Blanc. I gravitate toward New Zealand versions as they tend to have a beautiful grapefruit bouquet followed by similar flavors in the mouth. Guess what? So does this one. The Whitehall Lane Sauvignon Blanc has a wonderful grapefruit aroma with a hint of lime and melon. It’s fruity yet crisp and refreshing with flavors of citrus, melon, and gooseberries. Nice citrus finish. It’s and excellent balance of crispness and fruit. For this price, it’s less than my favorite New Zealand version so guess who’s gonna order a case?

Pick up a bottle, grab a Michael Hedges CD, and toast the fact that winter is almost over.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Groovemaster Don Ross & Folie a Deux Cabernet

Back in 1999, I was in San Francisco on business and I heard a song on the radio by a guitarist named Don Ross. The song was Klimbim and I immediately stopped by the Virgin Records store in S.F. and bought the CD. I’ve purchased most of his recordings since then. Don is the only two-time winner of the Winfield National Finger picking contest held each year down in Kansas. Once you hear and see him, you’ll understand why. As a bass player, I’ve mentioned that I like to feel a groove in the music. Well, Don is the King of groove. You can get his recordings at as Amazon and others carry only a limited selection. Don’t miss him!

Klimbim: As I mentioned, this is the first song I ever heard him play and it got me hooked on his music:

Michael, Michael: Dedicated to Michael Hedges. I absolutely love this song. It’s got a groove that just makes me want to get up and dance…that’s a scary thought and not something you want to see, as my kids will attest.

Afraid to Dance: And to follow up that statement, check out this song. Amazing!

Loaded, Leather, Moonroof: Wow, what a groove this one has. You can almost picture yourself riding in a corvette convertible with the wind whipping through your hair.

Tight, Trite Night: And if you’re not picking your jaw up off the floor yet, try this groove.

Elevation Music: Lest you think Don is all groove and no pretty, this song is just a beautiful melody.

Some wine tasting notes from my backlog (no, I’m not cheating on my diet). Since it’s flipping cold in the winter here in Nebraska, I tend to drink reds until spring. I picked up a bottle of 2006 Folie a Deux Cabernet Sauvignon a while back as it was on special and sounded interesting. I got it for $20.00. It had a very pleasant fruity bouquet of berries and tastes of black cherries and blackberry with a layer of chocolate in the background. Tannins were well balanced. It would go nicely with steak or, as in my case, alone with a good book and some good guitar music. Try it, you’ll like it!