The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
The Death Whisperer Series available at

Thursday, July 29, 2010

John Jorgenson & The Sum

In June, every Tuesday night there is an event called Jazz in June featuring national and local artists in a beautiful outdoor concert setting. About five years ago, one of the featured artists was John Jorgenson and his quintet. He is one of the pioneers of the gypsy jazz movement, which is derived in large part from the music of Django Reinhardt who played at the Hot Club in pre-World War II Paris.

Django invented an entirely new guitar fingering system due to the fact that his left hand was badly burned in a fire that permanently curled his fourth and fifth fingers toward the palm. He could use them on the first two strings for chords and octaves, but his amazing solos ere performed with only his index and middle finger. Check out a film clip of him sometime. He was amazing and I’ve included one of his recordings below.

John Jorgenson picked up his gypsy style and plays it like no other. He has blazing speed and a great sense of melody. He was the guitarist with Elton John for 6 years and has a resume full of all-star musicians such as Luciano Pavarotti, Bonnie Raitt, Benny Goodman, Sting and Billy Joel. Great listening to kick off the weekend!

Ghost Dance:

Lime house Blues:

With Tommy Emmanuel-Avalon:

With tommy Emmanuel-Nuages:

Back on Terra Firma:

Solo Acoustic:

El Camino del Che:


In Memory of Danny Gatton:


Viper’s Dream:

FA Swing:

Django Reinhardt (Selmer Guitar) @ the Hot Club of Paris -The Sheik of Araby:

With a fantastic guitarist like John, I’m recommending Seventy-Five winery’s 2008 The Sum. The inaugural vintage of The Sum is a cabernet based blended red wine created by Tuck Beckstoffer who’s family is widely considered to be one of the most famous grape growing family in the Napa Valley.

This is an amazing rich red wine that must be smelled and tasted to be believed. The color is a deep purple garnet and the nose gives off soaring and wonderfully focused aromas of ripe stone fruit, vanilla, cherries, cedar, blackberries, and cinnamon. In the mouth, there are layers upon layers of broad, sweet opulent fruit balanced by firm tannins, great acidity and oak. The wine is so big, it’s almost sweet. A wonderful compliment to the music of John Jorgensen. Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Terry Robb & Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc

Terry Robb is considered one of the top acoustic blues guitarists in America. He is a master of American primitivism, a transitional style that ranges between country blues and early 20th century string-band music. Terry has a complex fingerpicking style, blending popular and traditional genres to make this music more listenable to the general public. However, his overarching style is rooted in the blues.

He began his career in Portland playing a wide variety of styles and went on to study music theory in college. In the early 80’s he met and befriended John Fahey, a driving proponent of American primitive music and recorded several albums with him. In the 90s he focused on his own style, collaborating with fellow Oregonian Curtis Salgado and touring with the likes of Buddy Guy and Steve Miller. I’ve included their concluding performance on the Conan O’Brien show below. Hope you enjoy!

Acoustic Blues:

Acoustic Blues II:

Slide Blues:

Slow Blues:

Jitterbug Waltz:

Weary Blues (with Lauren Sheehan):

Right or Wrong (with Lauren Sheehan)::

Guitar Boogie(with Lauren Sheehan):

Who Knows (by Hendrix):

Electric Blues:

Hey Joe:

With Curtis Salgado & Steve Miller:

Summertime and it’s stinking hot in Nebraska with heat indices above 110! When it gets that hot, I need a refreshing wine that I can quaff, slurp, or swill. Plus during the week, I don’t like to open a whole bottle because all I want is one glass. For those times, I resort to a boxed wine. Yes, it’s true. I drink boxed wine. But this one is special. Octavian has assembled a series of wines into what they call their Home Wine Bar, packaged in a patent-pending bag and box that is supposed to keep every glass tasting as fresh and flavorful as if the wine was just opened, even up to six weeks after your first sip.

I love Sauvignon Blanc, particularly from the Marlborough region of New Zealand and Octavian offers just such a selection in their Silver Birch Sauv. It has just enough grapefruit and peach aromas to confirm it’s a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

The taste is crisp with flavors of kiwi, grapefruit, and green apple with distinctive mineral and gooseberry notes prominent. This is a wine that Chardonnay drinkers will enjoy as much as Sauvignon Blanc aficionados. I can’t verify their claim of a six week shelf life as a box only lasts me ten days.

List is $24.00 but I picked it up in my local wine shop for $19.00 for 3 L, which makes it an incredible deal for wine of this caliber from a region that is one of the premium producers of this varietal. So, if you want a summer refresher, pick up a box tonight. Together with the music of Terry Robb, it’s a great way to beat the heat. Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nori Bucci & Girard Petit Syrah

It’s hump day, halfway through the week and what better way to rid out the last three days till the weekend then by listening to the music of a spectacular young guitarist, Nori Bucci. I’ve been a fan of Gamalon, the Buffalo-based band with whom she plays for some time now. Her style is the result of a gradual move from being a self-taught finger picker through a classical formal music education. Her style ranges from a sweet soulful acoustic to jazz fusion to downright incredible shredding. I’ve included a little of everything to give you a full picture of her style. The first four selections are drawn from her solo CD’s and illustrate her acoustic capability. Great for when I want to relax. The next five numbers are electric and wild. But don’t miss the last selection, Midnight Drive. Trey cool and the artwork is incredible. Oh yeah, she’s an artist too. Check out her website at

Let me dream:

Crimson Sky:

Mask of Kindness:


The Vision (with Gamalon):

Funky Jam:

Jamming (with Gamalon):

The Dark (with Gamalon):

Bleaker St Jam (with Gamalon):

Recurring Nightmare (with Gamalon):

Midnight Drive:

Now with a classy young lady like Nori, I’ve got to recommend an extraordinary wine, namely a Girard 2006 Petit Syrah (on sale for $22.00). This is a huge wine, big and bold with classic structure for a Petit. It begins with an inky purple color and explodes with a bouquet of dark chocolate, cherries, blackberry, & violets. Massive flavors of blue and black fruit with hints of coffee and dark chocolate. There is a lot of complexity here in this very rich elixir with nice smooth tannins. My wife and I loved it and so will you. It’s a perfect compliment to the music and art of Nori Bucci; lots of style and class. Enjoy!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Paco de Lucia & Buena Vista Pinot Noir

Tonight, in honor of Spain’s incredible win in the World Cup soccer Championship, I’m featuring Paco de Lucia, a Spanish composer and one of the finest flamenco guitarists to ever pick up the instrument. His full name is Francisco Sánchez Gómez and he was born in Algeciras, Cádiz on December 21, 1947. He is a leading proponent of the Modern Flamenco style, and is one of the very few flamenco guitarists who has also successfully crossed over into other genres of music. I first heard him with the guitar supertrio where he played with John McLaughlin and al DiMeola. He is truly incredible and his passionate style make you want to get up and stomp the floor in a flamenco dance. Hope you enjoy his music.


La Barrosa:

Colombiana y Fandango:

Cueva del Gato:


Rio Ancho:

Tico Tico:


Entre dos Aguas:

Concierto de Aranjuez:

Super Trio:

Fantasia with al DiMeola:

Supertrio, Aspen:

Unfortunately, I don’t have a Spanish wine to compliment Paco, but I do have an excellent Pinot Noir from Buena Vista winery. Their 2005 Pinot Noir Carneros ($18.00) has a nose full of bright cherries with a touch of spice. On the palate, there are flavors of blackberry and cherry with hints of chocolate and a bit of toasted oak. The wine has a depth that gives it a long finish complemented by soft tannins and lingering berry fruit. This was one of the smoothest pinots I have had in a long while. Well balanced, and beautiful velvet texture. My wife felt it almost equaled our favorite New Zealand Whitehaven Pinot and that’s saying something. Try a bottle or two…or three. Oh heck, buy a case. Viva le Spain! Enjoy.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Acoustic Guitarist Review & Kinker Brick Old Vine Zin

Tonight I ‘m replaying selections from fifteen of the guitarists I’ve reviewed over the past months. All of them are acoustic wizards and wonderful musicians. And to go along with the guitarists, try Klinker Brick’s 2007 Old Vine Zinfandel ($18.00). Their "Old Vine" Zin comes from vines that average 85 years of age grown near the Mokelumne River in Lodi. This wine reminds me of the blackberry pie my daughter brought for Father’s Day. It’s loaded with jammy fruit and a touch of, black pepper on the nose and palate. It’s a powerhouse, very concentrated and juicy, with a long succulent finish. Try it, you’re gonna like it!

Don Alder; Finger’s Fingers:

Doug Smith; Sor Phalanges:

Craig D’Andrea; Standing Still:

Ewan Dobson; Paganini’s Hip:

Gareth Pearson; Thriller:

Eric Mongrain; Air Tap:

Jacques Stotzem; Sur Vesdre:

Laurence Juber; While My guitar Gently Weeps:

Pete Finger; Niemandsland:

Jimmy Wahlsteen; Shifts of Attention:

Pete Huttlinger; Josie:

Peppino D’Agostino; why Not:

John Renbourn: English Dance:

Pete Townsend; Won’t get fooled again:

Kenny Rankin; Blackbird:


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bass Guitarist Mark King & Meiomi Pinot Noir

It’s Independence Day and it’s party time. What could be better than some “feel good” music and marveling at the bass playing of Mark King and Level 42. Mark was born in Cowes on the Isle of Wight in 1958. He started out as a drummer, but took up the bass at age 19 while working in a music shop. In 1980 he was invited to a jam at the Guildhall School of Music and connected with keyboardist Mike Lindup and the Gould brothers, guitarist Boon and drummer Phil. The connection would become Level 42, the band’s name chosen after they read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. What is the answer to the ultimate question? 42! What’s the question? Well, read the book.

He has an incredible gift for playing and singing wildly different parts simultaneously. A consummate thumb thumper, he developed the habit of wearing black electrician's tape on his left thumb after he split it open on a gig in Holland. They still had a bunch of gigs to play so he wrapped his thumb with tape and kept on going. Eventually he got accustomed to the feel and it's been a trademark of his style ever since. Check out the opening vocal on Sandman. Level 42 is a happy upbeat group, perfect for partying on the Fourth. Keep it light, have fun, and stay safe.


Mr. Pink Bass solo:

Live with Level 42:

Love Games:

The Chinese Way:

Take a look:

Physical Presence:

Just like that:

To be with you again:

I sleep on my heart:

Dream Crazy:

Very early Level 42 Jam:

The only thing needed to make the Fourth evening complete is a good wine like a 2008 Meiomi Pinot Noir from Belle Glos winery ($22.00). Meiomi is the Wappa and Yuki tribal word for "coast," and it symbolizes this Pinot's source: the wild expanse of Sonoma Coast from Mendocino County to Marin. This is the entry-level Pinot from the family responsible for Caymus Vineyards and it’s tough to beat it in the 'taste-per-dollar” category. The garnet colored ambrosia hits your nose with the aromas of cranberries, cherries, plums and spice. The palate is rich with flavors to match the nose as well as vanilla and a touch of oak. All in all, this wine blatantly outperforms its price tag. Grab a bottle, turn up the sounds of Level 42, and watch the fireworks. Happy Fourth of July! Enjoy!


Friday, July 2, 2010

Igor Presnyakov & Layer Cake Virgin Chardonnay

Whilst surfing the web searching out new guitarists, I came across an incredible new artist, Igor Presnyakov. At least, he’s new to me. Born in Moscow, Igor is a guitarist/composer (and sometimes singer) who started out studying classical guitar, but now has an incredibly varied style and repertoire that includes pop, jazz and classical fused into a unique genre all his own. He’s been playing for over 35 years and now lives in the Netherlands (Viva le Orange for taking down Brazil in the World Cup!) What an incredible musician! I’ve selected a variety of covers that he’s arranged, including my favorite psyche-up song: Enter Sandman by Metallica. I think you’re gonna like him. Enjoy!

Beat it:

Sweet Child ‘O’ Mine:


Enter Sandman:

Poker face:

You give love a bad name:

Walk of Life:

Black or White:

Poker Face:

Snow (Hey Oh):

Kiss from a Rose:




Just the Two of us:

Englishman in New York:

Your Latest Trick:

A Bit Of Funk:

I took two days off to strip and refinish my deck. Fun in the sun! My wife says I really know how to have a good time. Anyway, working in the heat, covered in stripper, stain, sawdust, and sweat has me in the mood for a French-style Chardonnay (after a shower, of course), so I’m pairing Igor with a 2008 Layer Cake Virgin Chardonnay ($14.00). It’s called “virgin” because it never comes in contact with oak. By French style, I mean it doesn’t taste like a crock of butter. Rather, it’s crisp with creamy lemon meringue pie, pineapple, and key limes on the palette. The finish is light and clean. This is my style of Chard. Many of the California Chardonnay’s have overpowering oakiness and cover up some fermentative flaws with a heavy buttery taste. If that’s your style, great, but for my money, this is a great wine for kicking back on my newly redone deck and listening to Igor’s music. Try a bottle. Enjoy!