The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Four of the best young guitarists & Siduri Pinot Noir

Saturday night and I feel like revisiting four of my favorite young guitarists. Two girls and two guys to keep it even. Being a gentleman, I’ll let the ladies go first. Enjoy!

Nori Bucci


Steffan Schackinger:

Davy Knowles

With these fine young guitarists, I suggest a fine young wine, namely a 2009 Siduri Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Ruby red with a bouquet flowers and cinnamon, it hits your mouth with a burst of cherry and raspberry flavors. It’s young, yet has nuances of future complexity. Alcohol content is below 14% so don’t worry about having more than one glass. Enjoy!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fredrik Strand Halland & Graffigna Centenario Estate Reserve

Tonight I offer further proof of an invasion of blues-playing aliens. I say this because no 12 year old plays like the kid I’m offering up tonight. This one even speaks an alien language. Fredrik Strand Halland is a very talented guitarist from Norway (the planet, not the country). He was born on November 21st 1993 and got his first guitar at the age of 2. He picked up guitar by ear until at the age of 7 then received formal training from his father. He took lessons from his father for several years and in the meantime built up a local following by performing in the local market square. Later he took lessons from some guy named Mads Eriksen, apparently a well know Norwegian (alien) guitarist. While studying with Eriksen he must have heard some stray radio waves emanating from Earth and fell in love with the blues. He’s played a lot of festivals across the galaxy including Dalane, the Notodden Blues Festival, Amal, Hell (yikes!), Bergen, and Sandnes, each of which brought him more recognition. He has appeared numerous times on both the Norwegian planet and his hometown TV and Radio. On Norway he is known as BLUE-FREDRIK, but throughout the galaxy his group is known as The Fredrik Strand Halland Band. Personally, if a 12 year old can play like this, I’m burning my guitar. Enjoy!

12yrs old, Texas Flood:

Mary Had a Little Lamb:

Let me love you baby:

Pride & Joy:

Telephone song:

Little Wing:

Purple Haze:

Life is a gamble:

At the Pearl:

Blues Festival Performance:

If you’re a guitarist, you’ll probably want to join me in burning your guitar, so I think we’ll need a good wine for comfort. I suggest a 2008 Graffigna Centenario Estate Reserve ($12.00). This Argentinian Malbec is deep red with violet highlights. Its bouquet is quite complex with ripe dark berries, a touch of black pepper, and a spicy fragrance. On the palate it has well integrated, ripe tannins and a complex finish with hints of coffee, vanilla and toast. Make sure you have a big glass as you’re going to need it as you listen to this kid burn and you watch your guitar go up in flames. But cheer up. After all, he’s an alien. Try to enjoy!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Nick Drake & Castello D’Albola Chianti Classico

Nick Drake was a brilliant, but tragic musician. His songs have a somber melancholy tone to them, all of which were composed and played on the guitar. The brilliance in his music is clear, but as is often the case in the world of music, his life is tinged with tragedy. He suffered from depression and insomnia most of his life, conditions that are reflected in his music. On November 24, 1974, he kissed his mother goodnight and retired to his bedroom where he committed suicide early the next morning via an overdose of antidepressants. None of his albums sold more than 5,000 copies on their initial release. His reluctance to perform live or be interviewed further contributed to his lack of commercial success. Despite this, he was able to gather a loyal group of fans who would champion his music. Oddly, in 2000, Volkswagon featured the title track to his album Pink Moon in a television commercial and within a month Drake sold more records than he did during his entire lifetime. Gradually, he has received the recognition he deserved and now ranks as one of the most influential English singer-songwriters of the last half century.

As I write this Easter Sunday, I can’t help but wonder if Nick’s life might have been changed had he known that there was a God in heaven who came to earth in the form of a man and loved Nick so much that he died on a cross for him. That promise isn’t just for Nick, it’s for everyone. I’m a scientist with a Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology and 35+ years of experience in developing new technologies. I have several patents for a technology valued at $500 million to the company that now owns them. Scientists deal with the unknown and uncertain. But as a skeptical scientist who scrutinizes everything with the closest detail, there is nothing I am more convinced of than the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the hope he brings to this life and the life beyond. If you have questions about it, feel free to contact me either through a comment here or on Facebook. Happy Easter.

Day is Done:

Pink Moon:


Free Ride:

Thoughts of Mary Jane:

Man in a shed:

Hazey Jane I:

Way to Blue:


Cocaine Blues:


Things Behind the Sun:

Time of No Reply:

Hanging on a Star:

Milk & Honey:

Blues Run the Game: 

I’m pairing Nick with a 2007 Castello D’Albola Chianti Classico ($15.00), rated the 47th in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2010. The wine is a brilliant ruby red color. The aroma is intense, yet elegant, with scents of ripe fruits and violets that evolve into a beautiful, complex bouquet. It’s taste is filled with dark cherry and strawberry with outstanding balance. A very nice wine to enjoy with the music of Nick Drake. Enjoy!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Quinn Sullivan, Alien guitarist & Siduri Pinot Noir

Tonight, I present to you proof that we’ve been visited by beings from outer space. Quinn Sullivan (born March 26, 1999) is a child prodigy blues guitarist. Prodigy doesn’t begin to describe him. I think he’s from another planet where the inhabitants just look like their 10 or 12 years old, but in fact are 40 or 50. Sullivan began taking guitar lessons at age three. He first gained national media attention when he appeared on the Ellen Degeneres show at the age of 6. He’s since appeared on the Today show and Oprah and has taken the stage with Buddy Guy and B.B. King, often playing at Guy’s Legends in Chicago. I think after you listen to him play, you’ll agree…he’s an alien.


6 yrs old on the Ellen show:

9 Yrs old with Buddy Guy:

9 yrs old & Texas Flood:


Little Wing:

Voodoo Child:

The Thrill is gone:

7 yrs old While my guitar gently weeps:

Strange Brew:

Buddy’s blues:

At the house of Blues:

My sweet guitar:


At first I wasn’t going to pair Quinn with a wine since on the surface, he appears to be only 12. But after I realized he must actually be a very old alien, I figured what the heck. How about a 2009 Siduri Willamette Valley Pinot Noir? The wine is pure garnet in color with vibrant berry and spice on the nose. It’s a sleek Pinot Noir, with a core of cherry and raspberry flavors, accented by hints of cinnamon, vanilla, and candied orange peel that linger nicely. Despite its youth, this is a superb wine. Good thing, because you’ll probably want to drink the whole bottle once you hear Quinn and realize we’ve been invaded by guitar-playing aliens. Enjoy while you can!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Richard Thompson & Stolpman Vineyards Syrah

Tonight I’m featuring a musician whose guitar skills rank with the likes of Clapton and Page and whose song writing is on par with Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Richard Thompson has long been a favorite of mine. Born in 1949 and influenced by Django Reinhardt, Fats Waller, Les Paul, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong, he started his career as one of the founding members of the 1960’s folk/rock group Fairport Convention. His songs are poignant, provocative, and a life full of experience. His style ranges from traditional English Celtic to rocking blues. One of my all time favorite songs that he performs is 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, with its intricate Appalachian-style guitar work and mournful tune. It’s often at the top of internet polls for folk/rock ballads. I’ll let his music tell the rest of his story. Enjoy!

1952 Vincent Black Lightning:


I misunderstood:


Woodstock Tribute:

Black Crow:

On Austin City Limits:

Waltzing for Dreamers:

Cooksferry Queen:

Sunset song:

Turning of the Tide:

Oops, I did it again:

Where the drunkards roll:

Dad’s gonna kill me:

When the spell is broken:

Dimming of the day:

Complimenting Richard, I suggest a very special wine, a 2009 Stolpman Vineyards Syrah Estate Grown Santa Ynez Valley. I bought four bottles through WineAccess for about $22.00 each. This is a deep purple wine with a nose of wildflowers and raspberry and succulent flavors of red current, cassis, and black cherry. It was great from the bottle, but really opened up after an hour. Wonderful wine if you can find it and it perfectly complements the rich textures of Richard Thompson’s music. Enjoy!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Frédéric Mesnier & Mas de Libian Côtes du Rhône Bout d’Zan

Frédéric Mesnier is a french guitarist and composer, born in 1961 and living near Paris. Although he’s self-taught and considers himself a non-professionnal musician, he’s quite accomplished as a guitarist. You can find a lot of his music under the username FMGuitar on Youtube. Frédéric's guitar seems anchored in classical technique, merging a modern approach and a very melodic style. His composition, Medieval Song, has more than a million views on YouTube and has been a top rated video worldwide. I think you’re going to enjoy him.

Medieval Song:


Blue Song:

Blues in Perigord:

If You Were Here:

Wedding Waltz:

Song for Paris:

Melody in D:


Flying Guitar Melody:

Over the Clouds:

Medieval Dance:

The Claw:

Barock Progressive:

Of course, with a French guitarist, I have to recommend a French wine. While I was in the Groningen, the Netherlands recently, I dined at a superb restaurant called DePauw, also the name of my college alma mater. I was give the task of choosing the wine and the red I selected was a 2009 Mas de Libian Côtes du Rhône Bout d’Zan ($15.00 in the U.S.)

Mas de Libian is a remarkable winery owned by the same family since 1670. Hélène Thibon runs it and under her wise control Mas de Libian started estate bottling their wines rather then selling them to local wineries. A while ago, I reviewed their Khayyam and it’s a favorite of mine, although hard to find in the U.S.

The Bout d’Zan is composed of 80% Grenache Noir, 20% Syrah with an alcohol content of approximately 14.5%. The title, “zan” is the name for a traditional French licorice candy that comes in little bits or “bouts.” Hélène’s father, Jean–Pierre, earned the moniker as he was small with deeply tanned skin as a kid.

This wine is a purple violet color with a nose fragrant with the smells of cherries and rhubarb. It’s medium to full bodied with flavors of cherry, raspberry, and casis, and subltle chocolate overtones on the long finish. Very nice wine, especially for the price. I just hope I can find it in the U.S. Enjoy!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Music of the Generations & Pazo Senorans Albarino

Tonight I thought I’d present a review of classic generational songs. From my generation, the Woodstock generation, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young said it best. But I would be remiss if I didn’t cover the laid back chemical music of the Grateful Dead and pioneering improvisational rock of Cream. Next came the glam rockers with some excellent guitarists like Van Halen and Slash as well as the hard rockers AC/DC and Angus Young.

My son’s generational anthem was Nivana’s Teen Spirit, but while Kurt Cobain may have penned the anthem, I’ve included Eric Roche’s version as he’s a better guitarist. Moving into the 90’s and early 2000’s, we get to Red Hot Chili Peppers and Joe Satriani. Lastly, I’ve chosen a couple of up-and-coming young guns who I admire and believe have promising careers ahead of them. Enjoy the memories.



Suite Judy Blue Eyes:

Grateful Dead

Casey Jones:



Sunshine of Your Love:


Van Halen


Guns & Roses

Sweet Child Of Mine:

Paradise City:


Back In Black:

Have A Drink On Me:

Eric Roche

Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit:

Red Hot Chili Peppers


Road Trippin:

Joe Satriani

Surfing With The Alien:

Flying In A Blue Dream:

Steffan Schackinger



Perfect Waves:

Davy Knowles

Saving Myself:


Come Home:

While I was in Europe recently, I enjoyed a 2009 Pazo Senorans Albarino Rias Biaxas ($20.00), which I think will pair nicely with the music of the ages. This Spanish wine is a pale gold color with light green highlights. Its nose is full of peaches, apricots, and a touch of apples. The palate was clean and fresh, with pear, melon, lemon, and grapefruit flavors and acidity reminiscent of good Riesling. All in all, it’s a beautiful wine and great for reminiscing about tunes of the past. Enjoy!