The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
The Death Whisperer Series available at

Friday, May 28, 2010

Rock guitar duets & Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir

It’s Friday night and time to rock. I’ve created something new: Duets and more by great guitarists. Not much more need be said. Have a listen!

Clapton, Knopfler, & Collins:
Same old blues:

Stevie Ray & Jeff Beck:
Goin down:

Les Paul & Jeff Beck:

Jeff Beck & Jimmy Page
Beck’s Bolero & Immigrant:

Page, Beck, & Clapton

Beck & Clapton
Further on up the road:

Clapton & B.B. King
Key to the highway:

Beck & Batten
Blue wind:

Beck, Santana, Lukather

Lukather & Bonamassa:

King, Guy, Clapton, & J. Vaughn
Rock me baby:

Clapton & Santana:

Knopfler & Clapton:
Sultans of Swing:

Knopfler, Clapton, Sting, & Collins:
Money for Nothing:

The wine of the night is a cool find. I love Pinot Noir and I try to search out the best examples of this difficult to grow variety for review here. Of course, I also enjoy drinking them before I review them. But inexpensive Pinot is not easy to find, yet the 2008 Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir is a good one. It has everything you expect in a Pinot: dark fruit, cola, and spiciness on the nose with silky notes of cherry, plum, and blackberry augmented by a touch of vanilla, velvet tannins, and balanced acidity on the palate. Yet the jammy fruit character is not overdone yielding to an earthiness characteristic of the best Pinots.

Another reason to try this wine is a bit of trivia. It’s banned in the state of Alabama because the label, based on an 1895 poster of a nude nymph riding a winged bicycle, was deemed pornographic. Interesting. The label shows an impressionistic side view of her breasts and buttocks, but there is no depiction of genitalia. Still, the ban on the wine was apparently prompted by a complaint. Too bad for the down-homeys of Alabama, good for us—fewer people with whom to share this treasure. It’s available in the remaining 49 states and over 600,000 cases have been sold. At $10.00 a bottle, get yourself a case and let’s get this party started. Kick out the jams, brothers and sisters! Enjoy!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Craig Chaquico & Rita Medalla Real Carmenère

Tonight I’ve got a rocker turned smooth jazzer, namely Craig Chaquico. He was the lead guitarist for various incarnations of Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, and Starship combining with the group on twenty gold records. In the early nineties, he moved in a different direction becoming an award winning solo contemporary instrumental artist, songwriter, and producer. Some my favorite recordings of his are those on which he teamed with Russ Freeman of the Rippingtons. He makes some of the most listenable music on the planet. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t include a number he wrote and performed with Starship, namely “Jane.” Hope you enjoy him.


With Russ Freeman, Riders of the ancient winds:

Find your way back:

Café Carnival:


Forbidden Love:


Summer’s End:

Gypsy Nights:

Return of the eagle:

Shadow and light:

Mountain in the mist:

Turquoise Moon:

With Starship; Jane:

To keep you on track for the remainder of the week, I’ll pair Craig with a Chilean beauty: a 2008 Santa Rita Medalla Real Carmenère ($16.00). It’s deep ruby red with a bouquet of black fruits and spice augmented by elegant oak and chocolate. Its palate is full of blackberries, chocolate, and coffee with a mouth feel that’s very smooth, almost creamy, developing a bit of spice as it’s exposed to air. A really delightful wine. Combine it with the music of Craig Chaquico and let it lift your mood for the rest of the week. Enjoy!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Peter Finger & For Love Or Money Semillon

It’s been a loooonnnggg week and I need to relax, so tonight I’ve got a marvelous guitarist for you. Peter Finger was born in Weimar, Germany. He began playing the violin at the age of six and the guitar at thirteen. In 1988, he established both his own music publishing company and the Acoustic Music Records label and has produced dozens of artists. He’s won numerous awards for both his compositions and his playing. His musical style combines elements that cross several genres but leans toward a modern classical style. His combination of open tunings with the use of metal finger picks gives him a unique ringing tone. Hope you enjoy him!

Niemandsland: Very nice single note work. Haunting melody.

Vive la vie: Beautiful composition reminiscent of a Parisian café.

Getaway: Very fast finger work and a nice groove to it.

Dream Dancer: Mysterious sounding.

Spice of Life:

Come to my window:

Open strings:


Il Était Une Fois:

Guitar des Lespoir:

With AKI:

I was recently in Washington, D.C. and had dinner at Old Ebbits Grill, a place with wonderful food (try the crabcakes), and excellent value, especially for this city. But make sure you make a reservation. Instead of dessert, I decided to try a glass of a 2005 "For Love or Money" Two Hands Cane cut Semillon from the Barossa Valley, Australia. Semillons are sweet dessert wines with concentrated flavors. This particular version is made from Semillon grapes that have their canes cut when the flavor is ripe and are then left to slowly dehydrate on the vine. The result is a powerful, seductive dessert elixir. It’s golden in color with fragrant aromas of honeysuckle, jasmine, and tropical fruits. It’s rich on the palate with spiced honey, concentrated apple, peach, apricot, and caramel with a clean persistent finish. I did a bit of research on it back at my hotel and found that Wine Advocate gave it a 96 rating. A glass at Old Ebbits was $12.00 which is a good way to try a wine of this caliber as it ranges between $40.00-$50.00 in stores. But it’s a great wine for sipping and forgetting the cares of the week and it’s classic style melds perfectly with Peter Finger. Enjoy!


Friday, May 14, 2010

Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, & Marquis Phillips Shiraz

Derek Trucks is a Grammy Award-winning guitarist, songwriter, and producer. He’s also the youngest player to make Rolling Stone’s list of 100 greatest guitarists. He began touring with the Allman Brothers Band in 1989 before finally becoming an official band member in 1999. That same year, he met Susan Tedeschi, a blues singer/guitarist and outstanding musician in her own right. Susan has an incredible voice that can range from soulful balladeering to belting blues. I heard her in a solo acoustic performance about twelve years ago in Madison, WI and was blown away. The two married in 2001. Derek continues to play with both The Allman Brothers Band and his own band, but in recent years, Trucks and Tedeschi have toured together billing themselves as the "Soul Stew Revival." I’ve included some of their solo work as well as their collaborations below. Great stuff for kicking off the weekend. Enjoy!

Walkin blues:

Key to the Highway:

Little by Little:


Take a load off:

Trucks & Haynes:

Slide solo by Trucks:

Down in the flood:

King of the slide:

Wait for me:

At Crossroads:

Good morning little schoolgirl:

Hurt so bad:

To fully enjoy Susan and Derek, you need something with body and explosive fruit. Try a Marquis Philips 2006 vintage Shiraz from south Australia. I’m not kidding when I say the aroma’s of blackberry & black cherry flood your nose. Its palate has a combination of red current jam, blackberry liqueur , blueberries, and cedar with mild tannins and a long, lingering finish. Robert Parker rated it a 92. At $18.00 it's a great buy, especially since Australia is synonymous with Shiraz and can be quite pricy. Great wine!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Don Alder and Aia Vecchia Lagone

Mid-week and time for a “mellow” break. 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 expansive range of styles 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 let you listen to the music.

The Wall:

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.

Finger’s Fingers:

Blue Shift Principle: 


He said, she said:

Dr. Dr.:

Not a planet:

Man from Lady Lane:

To get you ready for the rest of the week, try a 2006 Aia Vecchia Lagone ($19.00) from Tuscany. On the nose there are aromas of black currents, cherries, and figs. The taste is loaded with more black currents, cherries, and a bit of pie dough with a bit of pepper spice. Feels full bodied in the mouth with solid tannins and a long flavorful finish. A delicious wine to make your mid-week divine. Enjoy!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jimmy Wahlsteen & Clos du Bois Shiraz

I found Jimmy Wahlsteen while surfing YouTube for new guitarists. Googling him doesn’t give much background information but he apparently made his name as a session musician in Sweden. His guitar playing employs some interesting tunings and his own brand of fingerpicking. He has a new CD out on CandyRat records entitled 181st. What I do know is he’s a fine guitarist. Check it out:
Rapid eye movement:

181st song:

Shifts of attention:


Carry Me:

It’s your favorite:

The urge to gossip:


Streets of London:

Suffice to Say:

Spring is in full bloom here in Nebraska. Lilacs fill the air with a sweet perfume and my back yard is full of lilies of the valley. Quite the aromatic combination. Since there’s still a bit of chill in the evening, though, I like to put on a light sweater and sit on the deck enjoying a glass of wine while I watch the stars. The 2006 Clos du Bois Shiraz ($9.00) is one of my favorite cheap wines. It’s made like a typical Australian Shiraz, dark purple in color and full of the jammy aroma of blackberries and raspberries. The berries come bursting through on the palate accompanied by spicy black pepper and it leaves an enjoyable tang in the mouth on the finish. Excellent for sipping on a cool spring night while you listen to Jimmy. Enjoy!


Friday, May 7, 2010

Rober Randolph & the Crusher Petite Syrah

Friday night and it’s time to rock. Robert Randolph is a high energy pedal steel guitarist. He began playing the steel guitar in the House of God Pentecostal Church where the instrument is referred to as “Sacred Steel.” He says Stevie Ray Vaughn was one of the main influences on his musical style. He played in several of the Crossroads concerts organized by Eric Clapton and actually toured with the man himself. Also, check out his bassist. The guy can really lay down the funk.

I need more love:

Billie Jean:

Voodoo Child:

Louisiana Bayou with Dave Matthews:


Ain’t nothing wrong with that:


The March:

Goin in the right direction:

The thrill of it:

Deliver Me:


With Clapton, got my Mojo Working:

Robert Randolph calls for something with a bit of heft so I suggest a 2008 “Crusher” Petite Syrah. It’s a classic Petite, deep purple, almost black in color with a bouquet that explodes out of the bottle flooding your nose with the aroma of blackberries, toasted walnuts and roses (honest!). The palate is rich with dark berries, cherries, chocolate, and a touch of caramel. It has a soft, silky mouth-feel and a long finish. So, go get yourself a bottle and enjoy your Friday night dancing to the sounds of a heck of a pedal steel guitarist. Enjoy!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wayman Tisdale & Volver Tempranillo

Wayman Tisdale started out as one of the highest rated high school basketball prospects of 1982-83. He chose to stay near home and attended the University of Oklahoma where he was a first team All American all three years of his college career. He played on the 1984 Olympic team that won the gold medal and was the #2 pick in the 1986 NBA draft after Patrick Ewing. He went on to an all-star NBA career finishing with 12,800 points and over 5,000 rebounds. But along the way, he played bass guitar and developed into a premier smooth jazz bassist and composer. His mellow reminds me or a deep jazz guitar with flowing melodies and toe-tapping rhythms. Sadly, he developed bone cancer in 2007, which resulted in him losing his leg in 2008. It finally took his life in 2009. His music will be missed. Hope you enjoy him.

Let’s do it again:


Way up:

I hope you feel it too:

Look at me now:

Sunday’s best:

Can’t hide love:

The turnaround-rebound:

Don’t take your love away:

With Bernie Williams:

Tribute & Last concert:

Accompanying Wayman, try a 2007 Bodegas Volver Tempranillo La Mancha ($14.00). I think this is the first Spanish wine I’ve reviewed and it’s a good one. Deep purple color with a beautiful bouquet of black cherry, violets, and blackberry. Tons of fruit that feels succulent in the mouth with soft tannins, excellent balance, and a long finish. I liked it so much, I went back and bought two more bottles. Both Robert Parker’s wine Advocate and Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar rated it a 90. I’d rate it a 92 because of the price. A tempranillo with excellent character. Pop the cork, pour a glass, and listen to one of the great smooth jazz bassists of our time. Enjoy!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Martin Simpson & Momo Pinot Noir

Martin Simpson has been one of my favorite acoustic guitarists for decades. He is one of England’s finest folk musicians and his recordings have won several awards. A virtuoso in the realm of Celtic music, he also excels at the blues as you’ll hear on several numbers I’ve included below. His signature sound mixes silky smooth finger picking with soulful slide work. Hope you enjoy him.

Highway 61:

Killing the Blues:

Raglan Road:

She Slips Away:

Come down Jehovah:

Walking Blues:

Louisiana 1927:

A Blacksmith Courted Me: l

Green Fields of America: l

Celtic Airs Medley:

Since it’s been a beautiful spring day followed by a gorgeous evening, what could be better than sitting on the deck listening to Martin, sipping a 2008 Momo Pinot Noir from New Zealand ($24.00). The Momo Pinot Noir is a blend of fruit from three Marlborough vineyards with varying soil characteristics. It’s a light wine, perfect for spring with aromas of black cherry, mocha, and hints of spice. The palate is concentrated with succulent dark fruits layered over smoky oak with fine mouth-coating tannins. Very nice wine that perfectly complements the music. Enjoy!