The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tommy Emmanuel & a Ridge Zinfandel

Just got back from a business trip followed by a vacation to Chicago. Weight loss is going great…58 pounds lost and only five more to go. Tonight I’ve got a great combination of one of the premier fingerpicking guitarists I’ve ever seen and a great zinfandel at an outstanding price.

Tommy Emmanuel is a fingerpicking demon! He moves fast and furiously and his arrangements are amazing. In concert, he’s quite the comic too. Check out his stuff! It goes well with the muscular Ridge Zinfandel reviewed here.

Guitar Boogie:

Two versions of Classical Gas, one of my favorite songs ever written for guitar. Used to be able to play it, but alas, no more.
Version 1: Classical Gas:
Version 2: Classical Gas:

Somewhere Over the Rainbow:

House of the Rising Sun: Nice vocals!

Warm and Windy: A Chet Atkins classic and Tommy does it more than justice.

Here Comes the Sun: This is an incredible medley. When he goes into Daytripper, you’ll want to get up and dance. And if that doesn’t move you, Lady Madonna will!

Tonight I’m featuring a 2006 Ridge Vineyards "Three Valleys" Sonoma Zinfandel Blend ($18.00-$20.00) to accompany Tommy Emmanuel. This was on special at my local wine shop, and since Ridge Vineyards is known for its excellent zinfandel’s, I picked up a couple of bottle. It’s a blend of zinfandel, petite sirah, syrah, and grenache. Ridge has about a dozen vineyards and this wine combines grapes from 10 different sites. I later learned that Wine & spirits Magazine rated it as one of the best buys of 2008. Very easy drinking wine with a bouquet of blueberries, ripe plums, and berries. Focused black cherry and black raspberry flavors with spicy overtones and good tannins. A very muscular wine. I realize it’s summertime, but this wine would go great with barbecue or a good steak. However, it’s just fine for sipping alone as I usually do. Excellent wine, especially for the price.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Phil Keaggy

I’ve been a bassist/guitarist for 43 years. In 1980, I became something else―a Christian. One of the things that I really missed in Christian music was a truly excellent guitarist. Most of the guitarists were folk style strummers. Then, one day in 1983, I was listening to a Christian radio station in Milwaukee and these incredible guitar rifts started coming through my car speakers. After a frantic search for the artist, I discovered Phil Keaggy. He is, without question, one of the most original and creative guitarists to ever pick up the instrument. If you’ve never seen him in concert, you’ve missed some amazing artistry. Check out the videos of Salvation Army Band and Shades of Green to get a taste of his concerts. He uses a Jam Man to create loops while he’s playing such that he creates multiple instrumental sounds and rhythms. His guitar playing is both beautiful and technically incredible. Even rock stars like the late Jimi Hendrix admired him. I think you will too.

Salvation Army band:

Shades of green:

Wind and the Wheat:

Maker of the Universe:

That’s when the wind blows:

County Down:

Addison’s Walk:

Cajon Pass:



Monday, June 8, 2009

John McLaughlin & a Riesling Kabinett

Tonight I’m featuring one of my long time favorite guitarists: John McLaughlin. When I was in college, one of my favorite groups was the Mahvishnu Orchestra wigh John, Jerry Goodman on electric violin, Billy Cobham on drums, Jan Hammer on keyboards, and Rick Laird on bass. I heard them in concert several times and McLaughlin actually oiled his fingers before he played. He has speed like no other guitarist. But what I really liked was his acoustic work with his jazz trio and Shakti. Don’t miss the selection with Trilok Gurtu and Dominique de Piazza. It’s one of my favorites. And check out the vintage video of him on the old Johnny Carson show.


Remember Shakti:

Joy with Shakti:

Pasha’s Love:

With Trilok Gurtu & Dominique de Piazza:

Blue in Green:

And along with that, I recommend a 2005 Schloss Schonborn Hattenheimer Pfaffenberg Riesling Kabinett. Complex yet balanced. It’s a drier riesling (after all, it’s a Kabinett). Crisp yet with lots of nice fruit flavors of pear, peach, and tangerine/citrus which gives it a degree of tartness. Excellent alone or with fish or fowl. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Laurence Juber & Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Wow! I’ve been traveling 8 of the last 10 weeks. Nasty! I’ve now lost 53 lbs and have only 8 more to go to reach my goal. So for tonight I’m featuring a guitarist who should be more widely known than he is and a very nice summer Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

As a young working musician in London, England in the 1970s, Laurence Juber was asked by Paul McCartney to join Wings as their lead guitarist. He spent the next three years recording and touring with the band. After Wings disbanded in 1981, Laurence began a solo acoustic career and has been consistently voted one of the top acoustic guitarists. In spite of this, he’s little known outside of guitar player’s circles. He has a wonderful sense of composition and melody with a versatile range of styles as illustrated by Blues Deluxe, Little Wing, and Leaning Post. He’s a prodigious recording artist and most shops carry at least a few of his CD’s. Check him out.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps:


Blues Deluxe:

Cobalt Blue:

Little Wing:

Leaning Post:

Live and Let Die:

It’s summertime and that means white wines, at least for me. My favorites are NewZealand Sauvignon Blancs, particularly Whitehaven and Kim Crawford. Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc made the top 100 wines of the year in Wine Spectator, which, unfortunately seems to give every wine shop in sight the freedom to raise the price by 5 bucks. Use to be $16 a bottle, now it’s $22.00. It’s worth it, but distressing. However, another very nice New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is Matua Valley. A bit more subtle than Kim Crawford and Whitehaven, but it has the same citrus and grapefruit nose and palate. Nice clean finish. And at $13.00 a bottle, it’s a steal. Chilled, it’s great on a warm summer night watching the stars. Don’t forget the mosquito repellant! Enjoy!