The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ben Lapps & Ojai VIneyards White Hawk Syrah

Ben Lapps is a 15 year old guitar phenom and my thanks to Rick Daley for bringing my attention to him. His debut album, The New Color, features almost all original music in his own unique playing style.  His influences range from Justin King (Phunkified), to Michael Hedges (Reverie), to Eric Roche (Per-cu-lator). Ben’s sense of rhythm is mesmerizing to hear and watch as he pounds out a rhythm on the top of his guitar. When he saw a video of Justin King playing "Square Dance" on YouTube, he couldn't help but change his guitar playing direction. He has quite a sense of composition as demonstrated by his version of “Going to California” that shows roots in Led Zeppelin. But the ultimate expression of his style is expressed in the first track below, namely the infamous Justin King song "Phunkdified." There’s a great deal of intensity expressed in his music and I hope you enjoy it.

Since I’m discussing “guitarist finds,” I’ll pair Ben with a real wine find. I was stumbling through a local liquor store and found a closeout sale on a variety of miscellaneous bottles. One of them was a 2005 The Ojai Vineyard Syrah, White Hawk Vineyard Santa Barbara County marked down to $22.00. That’s a steal as I believe it usually runs around $40.00.  For me, Syrah is a great holiday wine and this one is fantastic. It’s a deep violet with explosive aromas of dark berry preserves, incense, violets and exotic spices. Juicy red raspberry and and blackberry flavors flow over the palate, soothed by velvety tannins and excellent minerality. As it airs, it picks up a bit of sweetness and gingerbread spice that lasts through the finish. The only bad thing was they only had one bottle. So, peruse your wine shops and supermarkets. You never know what you’ll find.