The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
The Death Whisperer Series available at

Friday, December 31, 2010

Howe, Wooten, Chambers, & Caron & Saldo Zin

New Years Eve 2010 and for my last post, I’m featuring the bass guitar and two of the smoothest groups out there. Don’t need to say anything else except happy listening.

Howe, Wooten, & Chambers



Lucky 7:


Crack it way open:

Birdseye view:

Alain Caron

Slam the clown:

Turkey loose on the kit:

Freedom jazz dance:

Fat Cat:

Ink Illusion:


The last wine of the year is a 2009 Saldo Zinfandel from Orin Swift. It’s rich, ripe, and full-bodied, with aromas of black cherry and plum. The tannins are soft but the wine has an enormous mid-palate. Flavors of blackberry, spice, and black cherry predominate. A bit bitter on the finish. Goes great with the low end featured above. Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mick Taylor and Montecillo Verdemar Albarino

Mick Taylor hit the music world as the guitarist for John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers from 1966-1969. He was 17 years old when he joined the Bluesbreakers. Interestigly, he got the Bluesbreakers gig when he went to see them during Eric Clapton’s tenure as their lead guitarist, and when Clapton didn’t show up, Mick approached Mayall about filling in. Mayall agreed and a year later called Taylor to take the place of Pete Green who had resigned from the group. When Brian Jones left the Rolling Stones in 1974, Mick Jagger asked Mayall’s advice about a replacement guitarist, and he immediately recommended Mick. Taylor left Mayall to join the Stones and played with them until 1974 at the age of 25. Taylor was noted for his smooth lyrical touch and tone which contrasted with Keith Richards's jagged and cutting technique. Mick excels at playing the slow blues, one of the most demanding forms of the genre as it requires both crying notes and lightning fast arpeggios. Hope you enjoy him.

Live in Munich:

Blues in the morning:

Driving sideways:


Stop breaking down:

Baby what you want me to do:

I was born in Chicago:

I’m a blues man:

Mama Lion:

Sweet home Chicago:

I wonder why:

Laudromat blues:

It was 60 degrees in Lincoln today, which teased me into remembering summer. So I’m pairing Mick with a 2009 Montecillo Verdemar Albarino ($10.00). Albarino is a Spanish grape that is often compared to Sauvignon Blanc. This version is everything an Albarino is supposed to be. Pale yellow tinged with green, a nose full of apple, pear, grapefruit, and pinapple, with a taste echoing the fruit. It has a rich mouth feel, different than a Sauvignon Blanc and a long clean finish. Very nice for recalling the days of summer…which is all I can do as currently the temperature has plummeted to 21 degrees. Ah well, memories. Enjoy!


Monday, December 27, 2010

Philip Sayce & Earthquake Zinfandel

Christmas has been rather sad for me this year. My son-in-law’s cancer has metastasized to his spine which means the end is near. He and my daughter have been married for two short years and it seems only yesterday that I answered the question, “Who gives Rachel to be married?” with the words, “her mother and I.” Nothing prepared me for my daughter’s question this Christmas: “How do I prepare him to die, Daddy?” As a result, I’m going to feature the blues this week, which I think is an appropriate sentiment for the week.

Tonight, I’m featuring Philip Sayce. Sayce was born in Aberystwyth, England, but his family moved to Canada when he was two years old, and he grew up in Toronto. He began playing in Toronto clubs at the age of sixteen and quickly became a regular fixture on Toronto’s bar-scene. One of the clubs Sayce frequented was Grossman's Tavern in Toronto, known for its famous jam sessions.

In 1997, he joined Jeff Healey’s band and toured the world for three and a half years, playing such places as Germany, Brazil, Finland, and the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. In December 2003, Sayce joined Melissa Etheridge and her band for The Lucky Tour and has subsequently played on several of her CDs.

As you listen to him you find his style is strongly influenced by Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. His powerful technique fuses both styles into a soulful, driving example of virtuoso blues playing.

Over my head:

Powerful thing:

Angels live inside:

Can’t find my way:

Born under a bad sign:


Who knows:

Ottawa blues fest:

Save me from myself:

All I want:

Slip away: 

It’s over now:

Complimenting Philip, I recommend a 2006 Earthquake Zinfandel ($19.00). The Earthquake label is part of the Michael David Family of Wines, the makers of one of my favorites, Seven Deadly Zins Zinfandel. Earthquake is another fine example of this wine. Earthquake has a little bit of Syrah and Petit Sirah blended in which gives it a nice balance.

This Zinfandel isn’t for those looking for a subtle wine as it’s anything but. The nose has plum, cinnamon, and mulled berry fruit notes with a palate of jam-filled black raspberry and vanilla and a hint of pie crust and mocha. The finish lingers with spice and plum goodness. It’s a big, yet smooth wine, perfect for the big blues guitar of Philip Sayce. Enjoy!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chris Parkening & Veuve Cliquot

In honor of Christmas, I’m featuring one of the most brilliant classical guitarists ever to pick up the instrument. Christopher Parkening was a student of the late Andres Segovia and carries on his legacy magnificently. As a Christian, Chris plays in the tradition of J.S. Bach who said, “The aim and final reason of all music is none else but the glory of God.” Bach signed many of his compositions with the initials S.D.G., which stands for Soli Deo Gloria (to God alone the glory). I’ve included several pieces by Bach as well as several Christian Hymns from Chris’ repertoire, including a live performance of Bach’s magnificent Cantata #29, also known as “We Thank Thee Lord.” Chris is one of the few guitarists that plays it at the intended tempo and it is one of the most beautiful pieces for classical guitar. I hope you enjoy his music. Have a Merry Christmas!

Bach’s Cantata #29:

Prelude #1 by Bach:

Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring:

Fairest Lord Jesus:

Ave Maria with Kathleen Battle:


Deep River:

Evening Prayer:

Spanish Dance:

Miller’s Dance:

Capriol Suite:


Veuve Cliquot Non-vintage Yellow Label Champagne. ($29.00) is Cliquot-Ponsardin’s signature non-vintage Brut. It’s loved all over the world for its crisp, full flavors and consistent quality. This classical dry Champagne is a blend of two-thirds black grapes (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) for body, balanced with one-third Chardonnay for elegance. It has a golden Champagne color and fine persistent bubbles that tickle the nose with a lovely bouquet. There flavors of quince, apples, peaches, and pecans with a hint of toast and vanilla. It rated a 91 by Wine Spectator and it’s the perfect accompaniment to the music of Chris Parkening and the holiday season. Enjoy!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Clive Carroll & Craggy Range Pinot Noir

Clive Carroll has been described as“the best and most original young acoustic guitar player and composer in Britain” by Acoustic Guitar Magazine. Born April 8, 1975, he plays a diverse range of music including Celtic, jazz, and blues. He took up the guitar at the age of twelve, and in 1998, eleven years later, achieved a 1st Class Honours degree in Classical Guitar& Composition from Trinity College of Music, London.

Clive has been awarded a dizzying array of prizes including;

1994 John Halford Prize for Composition

1994 Gladys Puttick Memorial Prize for Extemporisation

1997 Ivor Mairants Guitar Award

1997 Continuum Ensemble ~ National Improvisation Competition (Finalist)

1998 Gladys Puttick Memorial Prize for Extemporisation

1998 Montagu Cleeve Prize for Guitar

1999 Essex Young Musician of the Year

He’s played with guitar greats such as John Renbourne, John Williams, and Tommy Emmanuel, and in 2004 was included in Total Guitar Magazine's “Top 10 Acoustic Guitarists of all Time”. He is the only guitar player to win the Essex Young Musician of the Year (1999). His music is the perfect way to start the week leading into Christmas.

Eliza’s Eyes:

One Take:

Mississippi Blues:


Aerial Discoveries:

Celtic Number Live:


Promise of Spring:

Kildimo Set:

Jazzy Blues:


Acoustic Routes:

With Tommy Emmanuel:

With Jeff Robb:

With Alexander Gismonti:

I’ve been reviewing wines under $25.00 and have noticed a price creep on several of my favorites over the past three years, so in keeping with the creep, I’m going to raise my price ceiling to $30.00. And it’s just in time for today. With a classy guitarist like Clive Carroll, I’m recommending a 2008 Craggy Range Pinot Noir 2008 ($30.00). New Zealand’s Craggy Range winery consistently produces award winning wines and their Pinot Noirs have garnered 90+ ratings from every critic for the past five years. The 2008 came in at #42 on Wine Spectator’s top 100 wines for 2010 list. The wine is black cherry red with dark fruit aromas of black cherry, boysenberry and wild flowers. Flavors of the same dark fruits with a touch of spice create a dense, yet elegant wine with a finish of red berries and silky smooth tannins. Wine Spectator rated it 93 while Wine Advocate gave it a 91. I’d rate it one of the best Pinot’s I’ve tasted, definitely a favorite and the perfect accompaniment to Clive Carroll. Enjoy!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Marcus Miller & Zaca Mesa Viognier

Marcus Miller is a jazz bassist, composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. He spent fifteen years as a sideman for a variety of band leaders and musicians even taking a stint as the bassist in the Saturday Night Live band from 1978 to 1979. He’s known for his slapping technique as well as his thumb playing. His discography is extensive as is his resume of artists with whom he’s played. He’s won Grammy awards as a producer for Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, David Sanborn, Bob James, Chaka Khan, and Wayne Shorter. He won a Grammy for best song in 1992 for “Power of Love” performed by Luther Vandross and another in 2001 for best contemporary jazz album. As a former bassist, I can tell you he is one fine muscian. Hope you like his music.

Teen town:



Power of Soul:

Goodbye Pork Pie Hat:

Higher Ground:


So What:

Burning down the house:


Live under the sky:

I’m pairing Mr. Funkensmooth with a Zaca Mesa Santa Ynez Viognier. My wife is not a fan of white wine but she really loved this one. It has an aroma of apricot, peach, and citrus with a touch of wild honeysuckle. Flavors of melon, apricot, and peach dominate with a touch of butter reminicent of a good California Chardonnay. In fact, it’s taste is like a hybrid of Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc. It has a tart, juicy mouthfeel and crisp dry finish. Very nice for kicking back to some funk and jazz with Mr. Miller. Enjoy!


Friday, December 3, 2010

Angus Young & Blackstone Sonoma Reserve Rubric

I’m in the midst of a horrendous travel schedule and anyone who’s flown lately knows how frustrating that can be. But nothing releases stress more than some good old head banging rock and roll. So tonight I’m featuring someone whom I consider to be one of the most underrated rock guitarists of modern times. Angus McKinnon Young (born 31 March 1955) is the Scottish-born Australian lead guitarist, songwriter, and co-founder of AC/DC. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame along with other members of AC/DC in 2003 and is known for his energetic performances, schoolboy-uniform stage outfits, and the duck walk which is a type of dance he performs onstage. Throughout his career he has exclusively played Gibson SG guitars, an axe that’s near and dear to my heart as I used to play a Gibson EB3 bass. But unlike little ole me, he has his own signature model. In contrast to many of his counterparts in the rock genre, he’s a teetotaler, which makes it a bit strange that I’m pairing him with a wine. Angus’ playing style is straight blues in both the minor and major twelve bar pentatonic scales. His rifts get your blood pumping, head nodding, and feet stomping. A great way to kick-start the weekend. Enjoy!


Highway to Hell:

Rock and Roll Train:

You shook me all night long:

Back in black:

Shoot to thrill:

Anything goes:

Black ice:

Fire your guns:

Let there be rock:


Whole lot of Rosie:

With a power guitarist, I’ve got to have a power wine like the 2007 Blackstone Sonoma Reserve Rubric ($20.00). Blackstone is known for wines that are widely available and a good value, so it was interesting to try this Reserve level wine that blends Cabernet Sauvignon (55%), Malbec (14%), Cabernet Franc (8%), Petit Verdot (8%), Tannat (7%), Merlot (5%), and Petite Sirah (3%). The wine was aged in oak for 20 months.

Plum, black raspberry, and violet aromas are prominent on the nose with hints of vanilla and cedar. The wine is a bit tight on opening, so I recommend letting it air for about an hour. Once it’s aired a bit, it reveals flavors of rich berries with a layer of spice that leads to a finish of dark chocolate. The tannins are firm but yielding with solid acidity. All in all, a great wine to accompany the head banging rock and roll of Angus Young. Enjoy!