The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
The Death Whisperer Series available at

Monday, August 30, 2010

Willie Porter & Snoqualmie Gewurtztraminer

If you have never heard of Willie Porter before, you are in for the musical discovery for a lifetime. He’s an acoustic picker with a style blending the best of Leo Kottke, Michael Hedges, Richard Thompson and Lindsey Buckingham bolstered by rootsy vocals and twisting, offbeat lyrics that evoked John Hiatt.

Porter released his debut CD, The Trees Have Soul in 1990. Back then he traveled in a Volkswagen selling discs out of his trunk, mesmerizing audiences with his guitar chops and original tunes. He’s release a bunch of follow-on CD’s including Dog Eared Dream, Falling Forward, a self titled disc, Willie Porter, High Wire Live, Available Light, and How to Rob a Bank and has toured with Jeff Beck, Tori Amos, and Jethro Tull. In fact, after hearing him play, Ian Anderson commented, “Thank God he doesn’t play flute.”


Paper Airplane:


Angry Words:


You stay here:

Hard Place:

Fear only fear:



Available Light:

Cut the rope:  


Loose gravel & interview:

How about a Gewurtztraminer to go with Willie’s music? The 2004 Snoqualmie Naked Gewurztraminer ($13.00) is golden straw in color with subtle aromas of pear and honeysuckle, but not the heavily perfumed spiciness that is often characteristic of this varietal. It has a juicy viscosity that clings to your tongue bursting with flavors of sweet apple and peach, and finishing with a honeyed note. I think it would have been even better with very spicy Indian or Thai cuisine, but it’s also an excellent aperitif, or just darn good for enjoying with the smooth music of Willie Porter. Gonna be out of town for a while as I’m taking a week of vacation. See y’all when I get back in a week. Enjoy!


Friday, August 27, 2010

Eric Bibb & Whitehall Lane Merlot

Got a treat for all you acoustic blues fans. Eric Bibb is one of my favorite guitarist/singers in the genre. He comes from a family rich in musical tradition. In addition to having a musician for a father, his uncle was the jazz pianist and composer John Lewis, of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Eric studied Psychology and Russian at Colombia University but couldn’t see the point since none of the Ivy League kids knew anything about where he came from, so he left for Paris, met up with guitarist Mickey Baker, and focused his interest on blues guitar. His talent for both performing and songwriting has been recognised with a Grammy Nomination (for Shakin' a Tailfeather) and four W.C. Handy nominations (for the albums Spirit and the Blues, Home To Me and A Ship Called Love; for 'Kokomo' as Best Acoustic Blues Song of the Year, and for Best Acoustic Blues Artist of the Year). Take a seat on the front porch steps, kick back, and let the world pass you by as you listen to his music.

In my father’s house:

Goin down slow:

Don’t let nobody drag your spirit:

Destiny blues:



Got to do better:


Durham Blues Festival:

Needed Time:

To know you:


Want your love:

I heard the angels sing:

I had a business dinner earlier this week and went to an Indian Restaurant. Being the author of a wine blog, I was given the honor of choosing the wine. Indian food is one of my favorite cuisines. My dish for the night was Salmon Madras, chunks of succulent, perfectly cooked salmon in a Madras sauce that was spicy without causing my glasses to melt. A perfect wine that stands up to the challenge of not being overwhelmed by the food was a 2003 Whitehall Lane Merlot. I’ve purchased this wine for under my $25.00 limit on sale at my local wine shop. The color is deep purple hinting at loads of dark fruit. The bouquet exploded with blackberries and raspberries. I liked the aroma so much, I almost forgot to taste it. Fortunately, I remembered as it bursts with more blackberry, cherry, and vanilla. I love this wine and it went perfectly with the meal. My business associates agreed. But it’ll go great on a cool summer evening tapping your feet to music of Eric Bibb, so get yourself a bottle and enjoy.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Alvin Lee, Ten Years After, & Cambria Pinot Noir

I was a freshman in college back in 1970 when I saw the Woodstock movie. To this day, I think it is the most incredible music movie/video ever produced. Of all the incredible artists who played at the festival, one in particular stood out, namely Alvin Lee and Ten Years After. My fellow musicians spoke about the blinding speed of Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page, but this guy was greased lightning with five fingers and a pick. The song that made me fall out of my seat was “I’m Goin Home,” which I’ve included below. Although he started out as a jazz guitarist, Alvin is pure rock and roll. If the week is dragging a bit, his music ought to kick you back up a couple of notches. Enjoy!

I’m Goin Home:

Keep on Rocking:

Long Legs:

Choo Choo Mama:

Good Morning Little School Girl:

Hey Joe:

Johnny B. Goode:

Bluest Blues:

Slow Blues in C:

Detroit Diesel:

With Leslie West:

Victim of Circumstance:

Had kind of a dilemma deciding what to pair with Alvin, but I’ve decided to go with a 2006 Cambria Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir($18.00). Its cherry red color prefaces a bouquet of red fruit. The taste is a blend of cherries, strawberries, vanilla, and just a touch of oak. Cambria Pinot Noir is a silky, medium bodied wine with a light, but long finish. It’s guaranteed to pull you over the Wednesday hump as you rock out to Alvin Lee.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Matt Schofield & Seghesio Zinfandel

Readers of this blog will know that I love the blues. Every once and a while, a young gun comes along with claims of being the next Stevie Ray Vaughn or Eric Clapton. Well, in my humble opinion, tonight’s guitarist can take his place next to those two giants. Matt Schofield is one of finest blues guitarists to come along in years. He’s rated one of the top ten guitarists of Great Britain and rightfully deserves the accolades. Born in 1977, he’s been in the business since he was 18 and has been immersed in the blues all his life. While some guitarists seek to emulate the greats, Matt has his own powerful style. His music should get you through the Monday blues with a bang and launch you into the week riding the notes of his wailing guitar. Enjoy!

Black Catbone:

Uncle Junior:


Leaving town blues:

Fight the power:  

Siftin through the ashes:

Heart don’t need a companion:

At the Q-bus:

If I had possession:

At the Gailburg Blues festival:


Lay it down:

Slow Blues:

I need a powerful wine to accompany Matt so I recommend Seghesio’s 2007 Sonoma County Zunfandel ($24.00). The wine is sultry and sexy like a slow blues with black cherry and blueberry aromas followed by a palate of raspberry, blueberry, and peppery spice. Seghesio is known for its Zins and one thing I find especially appealing is they aren’t overly oaked. The wine has a silky refined texture, perfect for the smooth blues guitar of Matt Schofield.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ulli Bögershausen & Brancaia Tre

Ulli Bögershausen is a guitar painter who creates soulful, sometimes melancholy pictures as the notes flow from his guitar. One of my favorite songs is “Mad World “ and his renditions is beautiful. For me, his guitar makes me smile as his notes sooth away the stress of a hectic day. His style blends classical training with folk and pop sounds that merge into a unique kaleidoscope of colors. His technique is flawless, his interpretation without peer. I hope you enjoy him as much as I do.

Valpolicella Express:

Time after Time:

Right Here Waiting for You:

Kiss From A Rose:

More Than Words:

Eleanor Rigby:

Norwegian Wood:

Hit The Road, Jack:


Tango: l

Spider’s Dance: l

Mad World:

With a peerless guitarist, I’ve got to have a wine of equal quality, so tonight, I pairing Ulli with the #10 wine in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 of 2009, namely the 2007 Brancaia TRE ($18.00). It’s a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Wonderful bouquet exploding with dark fruit and violets followed by a palate that coats your mouth with crushed raspberries and blackberries. Velvet tannins with a soft finish bursting with more fruit. Wine Spectator rated it a 93. I agree. In fact, I bought three more bottles. Try it while you listen to Ulli. Heavenly!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Billy Gibbons & Eos Petite Syrah

I’m in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire as I write this, attending a science conference and missed my usual Sunday nite kickoff to the week. So, gotta kick it into high gear going from zero to 60 in under three seconds, and what better guitarist to do it than Mr. Billy Gibbons and that lil ole band from Texas, ZZ Top. Although the band went through a period where commercialism almost killed them, Gibbons, consummate blues and boogie guitarist that he is, brought them back to their roots. He’s known for playing a Gretsch Jupiter Thunderbird guitar (“Billy Bo”) and a signature 1959 sunburst Les Paul named “Pearly Gates.” He’s the composer of many of their songs, most of which call for cranking the volume and shuffling around the room. At least, that’s about the extent of my dancing abilities. If you’re so moved, feel free to join me. Kick out the jams, brothers & sisters, tomorrow is hump day so the weekend can’t be far behind!

Sharp Dressed Man:


With Brooks & Dunn; Gimme All Your Lovin:

La Grange:

Jailhouse Rock:

Stop Breaking Down Blues:

Poke Chop Sandwich:

Blue Jean Blues: 

Nasty Dogs & Funky Kings:

What’s up with that:

Tube Snake Boogie:

Future Blues:

With Buddy Guy:

With Jeff Beck:

With the Allman Brothers:

Blues Lesson:

Tush with Brooks & Dunn:

I need a bold wine with Billy, so I’m pairing him with a 2006 Eos Estate Petite Syrah. Petite Syrah was originally cultivated and labeled as such only in California. For a long time, its origins were unknown, but with the emergence of molecular techniques such as DNA sequencing, evidence from research led by Dr. Carole Meredith at the University of California at Davis has confirmed most plantings to be the Durif grape.

Most of today’s plantings of Petite Sirah were made before the 1960s. Field-blending was the norm during that time, with many varieties often interplanted. As a result, few Petite Sirah vineyards are "pure." Vineyard blocks are often intermingled with vines of Alicante Bouschet, Carignan, Grenache, Mourvedre, Peloursin, or Zinfandel. So the wines from these vineyards labeled "Petite Sirah," at least to some degree, are blends.

Petite Sirah has always been an important blending grape, prized primarily for its deep color and intense tannin. It is most often chosen to blend into zinfandel for added complexity, body, and to tone down the tendency of zins toward "jammy" fruit.

On its own, the appeal of Petite Sirahs are usually high in pigment and tannin. Young wines may show dark berry fruit characteristics augmented with black pepper spice. While perhaps not highly distinctive, I find them delicious, and tonight’s selection is no exception.

The Eos opens with raspberry, plum, blueberry, and spice. It’s dark purple in color with cherry, black currents, and blackberry flavors and a silky feel in the mouth. It has a fair amount of complexity and a long finish that makes you want more. Very well balanced, and at $18.00 it’s a good deal. So, boogie to the blues of ZZ top and be careful with the Eos as you dance around the room.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Franco Morone & Paraduxx

Franco Morone is known as the “Italian Poet of the Acoustic guitar.” His melodies have a beautiful and distinctive style that I would classify as Italian-Celtic fusion that paint pictures evoking a myriad of emotions. The intricacy and texture of his fingerstyle playing is huge, haunting, and takes you on a trip to heaven. Of course, as a blues fan, I included two outstanding numbers in the genre, namely Celtic Dog Blues and the Gershwin classic, Summertime. Trust me, you’re gonna to like him!

Celtic Dog Blues:

Blind Mary:

Carolan’s Concerto:

Mex Passage:

Flowers of Edinburgh:

The Blarney Pilgrim:


Star of County Down:

Kesh Jig:

Nebbi alla Valle:

Flowers from Ayako:

Turkey in the Straw:

Scarborough Fair:



Donna Lombarda:

Last weekend was my 34th wedding anniversary. God is good and it takes a remarkable lady to live with me that long. We celebrated with a wine that is normally way out of the $25.00 price range (~$50.00) but I got it on sale for $30.00 and it’s a good wine for a special occasion. The wine is a 2006 Paraduxx from Duckhorn Vineyards. It’s a blend of 64% Zinfandel, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. The color is dense cherry with aromas of plum, cherry pie, and chocolate, accented by hints of cinnamon spice, vanilla, and violets. It bursts with red fruit flavors of Bing cherries, strawberries, and raspberries with a contrasting layer of blueberry and mocha. Smooth tannins with a long red current finish. If you have a special occasion, this is a great wine to celebrate…or for just kicking back and listening to the mello sounds of Franco Morone. Enjoy!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Alex de Grassi & Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Alex de Grassi is widely acclaimed as one of the premier fingerstyle guitarists playing today. He was born in Yokosuka, Japan, but grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. He picked up the guitar at age 13 and is primarily self-taught. He’s been nominated for a Grammy award and as you’ll see and hear, his intricate picking style generates haunting melodies that take you to another world. Two of my favorites are Lay This Body Down and his arrangement of James Taylor’s Fire and Rain. Hope you enjoy him.

Blue Trout:

Lay This Body Down:

Fire and Rain:

39 String Harp Guitar:

Single Girl:

Momentary Change Of Heart:


Southern Exposure:

Heavy Feet:




As I write this, it’s 96 degrees with a heat index of 112 here in sunny ole Nebraska. That calls for a refreshing, thirst quenching white and nothing does that better than a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I’ve got a great one tonight, namely Spy Valley’s 2009 version ($15.00). It’s pale yellow in color with a nose that bursts with grapefruit and red oranges. In the mouth, there are flavors of more grapefruit, apricot, lime, and tangerine and lots of them. Very smooth yet crisp, clean, and zippy. It won a silver medal at the 2010 Japan Wine Challenge and Wine Spectator rates it a 91. Great value and wonderful for sipping on the porch on a hot summer night, although the tendency when it’s this hot is to just take the bottle and suck it through a straw. Don’t. Enjoy it slowly along with the music of Alex de Grassi.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Bass Night & Farrah Syrah

Bass night and time for some lowend delights. No comments, just music. Enjoy!

Brian Bromberg

Jungle Boogie:

It is what it is:

Mr. Miller:

Tom Kennedy (with Dave Weckl)

Tappin da bass:

The Chicken:


Dominique di Piazza

New bass:

Hijacked (with John McLaughlin):

Que Alegria:  

Stanley Clarke


East River Drive:

Greatest Hits:

Jeff Schmidt

Solo #2:

Piccolo bass solo:


Michael Manring:

Monkey Businessman:


Bright side life (with Pat Metheny):

The 2008 Klinker Brick Farrah Syrah ($20.00) is a fabulous wine to have on hand when listening to some low end music.With aromas of blackberry & black cherry, with similar notes on the palate along with vanilla and plum, the 2008 Farrah Syrah is a smooth, beautifully balanced wine. The texture is silky and the finish, long and lingering. Wine Spectator rated it 91 points. I agree. Enjoy!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ian Anderson & Palazzo Della Torre

Back in the late sixties, I fell in love with a little known group that later became a super group—none other than Jethro Tull. I first heard them in concert at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom, an old dance hall that hosted some fantastic concerts. I was fascinated by the group’s leader, Ian Anderson. Dressed in knee-high leather boots, yellow breeches, and a plaid bathrobe cut to look like a tuxedo with tails, he pranced around the stage, playing a flute on one foot while his other leg waved in the air. I heard later that he’d started out as a guitarist, but when he heard Cream’s Eric Clapton, he decided he’d never reach that level and took up the flute. In spite of that, he’s an outstanding acoustic guitarist. He plays tiny guitar that has a rich sound for something so small. His style is reminiscent of medieval Celtic accompanied by his very unique voice. I’ve provided a sampling of his acoustic work and several numbers where he plays flute. His music is timeless and I still love it. Enjoy!

Life’s a long song:

Wondering aloud:

Thick as a brick:

Skating away:

Locomotive breath:

Mother Goose:



Hymn 43:


Farm on the freeway:

New day yesterday:

The English are know for beer and ale more than wine. But I’ve got a very nice Italian selection to pair with Ian. Palazzo Della Torre ($17.00) from Allegrini is 70% Corvina Veronese, 25% Rondinella and 5% Sangiovese. Lots of dark fruit and spice on the nose. It hits you mouth with vibrant dark fruits and layers of mocha, raisins, spice and a hint of smokiness. It’s an elegant polished wine with considerable complexity and a very long finish. Open a bottle and let Ina Anderson carry you back to the days of kings and knights. Enjoy!