The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
The Death Whisperer Series available at

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dobro Player Jerry Douglas & Angeline Sauvignon Blanc

It’s been a beautiful summer here in Nebraska. Cooler temperatures than I ever seen for the past ten years I’ve lived here. And tonight is a gorgeous evening, temp about 65 degrees, clear, star-strewn sky and a great night for drinking wine and listening to THE best dobro player I’ve ever heard, Mr. Jerry Douglas. He often plays with Alison Krauss & Union Station, some of the finest bluegrass players around today. Now, for those of you who don’t know it, the dobro is a kind of bluegrass slide guitar. Its tone can be anything from haunting and mournful (see We Hide & Seek) to a rousing romp (Cincinnati rag). We Hide & Seek has been one of my favorite songs of Jerry’s for years, so I’ve included early and more recent versions of the song. I also love his picking on Hey Joe. However, just a word about Hey Joe. I used to do this song with a band when I was a teenager. I loved Jimi Hendrix version of the song. But as I’ve gotten older, I now pay more attention to the words, which, frankly, disgust me. My daughter is a social worker who works with abused women and children and knowing what she deals with, the song’s words make me ashamed of my gender. So, apologies to those who’ve experienced abuse. Try to ignore the lyrics and just listen to the dobro. Also, check out a young Bela Fleck (to be reviewed at a future date) playing Cincinnati rag.

We Hide & Seek:

We Hide & Seek v.2:

Little Medley:

A tribute to Peador O’Donnell:

Wild Rumpus:

Hey Joe (with Tim O’Brien):

Cincinnati Rag (with Bela Fleck):

Now, since it’s summer, I’ve got a really nice 2007 Angeline Sauvignon Blanc from California ($10.00) to go with the music on this fine summer night. It’s very close to a New Zealand style with a bouquet of citrus and apples and a taste hinting of grapefruit and lime. Very crisp and refreshing, with a clean after taste. Try it and enjoy Jerry Douglas.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

75 Cabernet and the Uilleann Pipes

Tonight, I’ve got something a bit different. Years ago, I saw the movie Braveheart and fell in love with music. The featured instrument playing the theme song was the uilleann pipes. They have a mournful sound that stirs the soul and can bring me to tears, and no one plays them better than Davy Spillane. I heard him play Caoineadh Cu Chulainn when I saw Riverdance. So, as tomorrow's Monday and I have to return to work after a week of vacation, I’m feeling kinda melencholy tonight so I thought I present a selection of his music.

I’m pairing it with a very nice 2005 cabernet sauvignon from the 1975 wine company, about $20.00. It dark ruby color with a bright bouquet of cherries and cranberry. The taste reveals cherries, cassis, vanilla and a touch of spice with very light tannins. It’s a lighter cabernet, almost reminiscent of a pinot noir. And being a lighter red it should compliment the mournful mood of the uilleann pipes.

Caoineadh Cu Chulainn (Riverdance Solo): 

Midnight Walker:


Mystic Seacliffs: 


Call Across the canyon:


Friday, August 21, 2009

Kreativ Award, Favorite Guitar Posts, & B.R. Cohn Silver Label Cabernet

Well, whaddaya know. I was nominated by Rick Daley ( ) for a Kreativ Blogger Award. Thanks Rick! Most of the time I think I’m just doodling along drinking wine and listening to guitarists while I struggle to write thriller novels. BTW, writing thrillers is great for stress relief. If you have a bad day, you can create the source of that bad day and kill it off…violently, painfully, unmercifully. You get the picture.

I guess this comes with some responsibilities (Damn! Shouldn’t have finished off the whole bottle of 2006 B.R. Cohn silver Label Cabernet!). First, I’m supposed to tell you seven things you might find interesting about me. Hmm.

1. I have a Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology…translated, I’m a geek. I did try to have a geekectomy, but it was unsuccessful. I love science, technology and pondering the impossible.
2. I’m a Christian. That may sound like an oxymoron, or maybe you think it’s just moronic, but it’s true. Please don’t send me questions about creation and evolution. My hair may be silver gray, but I’m not THAT old and I wasn’t there. I will say categorically that I’m not a young earth creationist. Most of what I see them spout is male bovine external solid waste. That was polite of me, wasn’t it?
3. I play both the bass guitar and acoustic guitar and have a deep appreciation for all kinds of music. Used to be a professional bassist and got myself through college playing in blues and jazz-fusion bands. I also write songs and sing with a voice that sounds like a goose with digestive problems on a hot muggy day. I love guitar music and my tastes run from Christopher Parkening (classical) to Joe Satriani (shredder). The latter sometimes shocks people, especially the younger set. One day while blasting Metallica’s “Enter Sandman, (a great psych-up song) in my car with the windows open, a teenager pulled along side me and said I had great taste…for an old man. Young whippersnapper!
4. I like, no, love, wine, cognac, and Armagnac. Lest you think I’m a lush, this stuff is too expensive to guzzle. You swirl, gaze, sniff, and sip delicately while sitting in front of a crackling fire with a good book, or out on the deck under a star-strewn sky listening to the serenade of the night. I’m also a beer snob. You won’t find Bud, Miller, or Coors in my house. Microbrews only. I read wine magazines and am amazed at the prices of the wines they review. Who has $100 buck to blow on a bottle in this economy? So I only drink & review wines that either list or are on sale for under $25.00.
5. My mid-life crisis is novel writing. I’ve completed three novels and am halfway through the fourth in a series of thrillers where the lead character is Liam Michaels, the Archangel Azrael, who lives in Chicago and is here to take out terrorist groups, etc., all of whom are actually led by demons and fallen angels.

6. Next, I ‘m supposed to nominate seven of my favorite blogs for the Kreativ award. They are, in no particular order, as follows:
The Blues Blogger:

Ron Clegg:

Guitar god:

Tucson Bass Player:

The Blog Wine Cellar:

The Intern:

7. I’ve emailed all the culprits to tell them they too will have to fulfill these “responsibilities”
8. Lastly, place the award on your blog site.
Now, in honor of the award, I thought I’d recap some of my favorite guitar pieces of the past year. I’m pairing it with 2006 B.R. Cohn silver Label Cabernet Sauvignon, about $20.00. You may recall I got a fantastic deal on the gold label version of this wine: $25.00 for a wine that’s normally about $57.00. It was one of the best I’d ever tasted. Well, the Silver label is no slouch either. It’s full and rich with explosive flavors of berry, cassis and black cherry along hints of vanilla. Tannins are delicate and aging in French oak gives it a bit of complexity. Very nice for listening to some great guitar.
1) Phil Keaggy, Salvation Army Band:
2) Eric Roche:
a) She Drives Me Crazy:
b) Van Halen’s Jump:
c) Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen spirit:
3) Antoine Dufour, thirty Minutes in London:
4) Preston Reed, Ladies Night:
5) Kelly Valeau, Another Brick in the Wall:
6) Eric Turnbull, Bomba Checka:
7) Andy McKee, Art of Motion:
8) Don Ross, Michael Michael:
9) Eric Mongrain,
a) Air Tap:
b) PercusienFa
10) Rory Block, Crossroad Blues:
11) Larry Carlton, don’t Give It Up:
12) Tommy Emmanuel, Classical Gas:
13) John Goldie, Summertime:
14) Mark Knopfler & Eric Clapton: Money for Nothing: 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Great Pinot Noir and guitarist Steffan Schackinger

Tonight I’m featuring a truly marvelous Pinot Noir and a new find on guitar. The Pinot is 2006 Whitehaven from the Marlborough region of New Zealand. They also make my favorite Sauvignon Blanc. This Pinot Noir has a captivating plum fruit and bright cherry aromas. On the palate it is rich with cherry and strawberries; concentrated with a soft velvety texture. It’s normally $35.00 locally but I’ve now seen it on sale twice for $23.00. It is probably the best Pinot I’ve had for some time, and I love Pinot’s.

Now for the new guitarist. Thirty-six-year-old Steffan Schackinger is a Danish whiz on the instrument. He can be wild and crazy but he’s got a sense of melody that is really beautiful. His sound sometimes reminds me of Michael Dowdle and other times of Mark Knopfler, two of my favorites. Check out his website at: . He has a very interesting story.

Be sure to watch the videos of him in a duet with violinist Jane Clark. She can really rip on the violin.


City Lights:

Perfect Waves: Sounds like Mark Knopfler:

Bulldog Bite:

Time (with Jane Clark):

Steffan & Jane, Dixieland:


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Argintine Patriota & John Mayer

Back in 2001, I working in my home office, when a song came on my son’s radio that hooked me. It was Neon by an newbie on the block, John Mayer. Now, I know he’s a teen heart throb but I gotta tell ya, I’m a fan. He is one fine guitarist. His first CD, “No Room For Squares,” has some mighty fine acoustic guitar on it and Neon is my favorite. John plays a lot of chords, a lot of very difficult chords, and he’s excellent at improvisation. I’ve said in the past I’m a fan of the blues and this kid can play. I hear all the time that this guy or that kid is supposed to be the next Stevie Ray Vaughn, but in my opinion, John’s got the title. He’s Stevie and Jimi Hendrix rolled into one. His voice interesting but I really listen for his guitar playing.

I love his version of “Message in a Bottle,” but the song that is a real killer (besides Neon) is In Your Atmosphere. Beautiful lyric and really fine guitar playing. And by the way, all you bass players, if you don’t have John’s “Try” CD, you need to get a hold of it. Pino Paladino lays down some mighty fine bass lines. Hope you enjoy it.



Message in a bottle:

No Such Thing:

Heart of Life:

In Your Atmosphere- little known but really beautiful, moody song:

Love Song for No One:

John Mayer Trio with Steve Jordon (drums) & Pino Paladino, one of my favorite bassists
Good Love is on the Way:

Wait until Tomorrow (by J. Hendrix):

I got a woman—Steve Jordon lays down an incredible beat!

I’ve been reading a lot about the wines of Argentina and Chile and I realized, I’ve never tried one. Well, I was perusing my local wine shop and they were having a sale on Tikal Patriota: $19.00. So I says to myself, “Self, why not try this one?” And I did. Keep in mind I knew very little about Argentinian wines other than their two most frequently used grapes are Malbec and Bonarda. The Patriota is a blend of 60% Bonarda and 40% Malbec. According to their website, Patriota is aged in French oak for 12 months. I realized as soon as I poured it into my glass that it’s bottled unfined and unfiltered. It’s kinda of a hazy purple color. On the nose, there are strong notes of black cherry and blueberry. On the palate, you can taste both the berries plus raspberry, currents, and a hint of chocolate. Long, lingering finish. It’s not a subtle wine, rather it’s quite powerful. It’s most definitely a winner. After I drank it, I did a little research, I found that Robert Parker at Wine Spectator rated it 90 while Wine & spirits Magazine rated it 91, so I guess I picked a good one. “Try” it with John Mayer’s blues CD, “Try (pun intended).