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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Johnny A. and La Madrid Reserve Cabernet Franc

Johnny A. is a guitarist/songwriter, born November 14, 1952 in Malden, MA. His first musical interest at the ripe old age of six was the drums. But after hearing the Beatles in 1964, he bought a $49.00 Lafayette Electronics guitar and started down the path toward the guitar wizard he is today.

In the late 70s, he formed a group called Streets that played the Boston music scene. He worked as a sideman for a number of years, playing with percussionist Mingo Lewis, drummer Doug Clifford, and keyboardist Bobby Whitlock. He branched out after those gigs and went on a seven year stint as the music director and guitarist for The J. Geils Band frontman Peter wolf, joining him on his albums and co-producing his “Long Line 1996” release.

Johnny launched his solo career in 1999 with the release of his debut album “Sometime Tuesday Morning.” The song, “Oh Yeah” became a number one single across the USA on the AAA radio format. His next release, “Get Inside,” continued Johnny’s rise in the music world and he continues to tour with his own band. In 2010 he was the recipient of the Boston Music Award’s Blues Artist of the Year.

As you’ll hear, his approach to the blues is quite sophisticated, blending it with jazz chording and scaling in a unique way even throwing in some Wes Mongomery-style octaves on Krea Gata.  He doesn’t sing a lick, but he sure can play. Enjoy!

Johnny A’s blues style strikes me as exotic, so I suggest pairing his music with a 2009 La Madrid Reserve Cabernet Franc from the Agrelo Vineyard, Mendoza, Argentina. My wife and I were in Chicago last week and had dinner in a delightful wine bar called Bin 36. If you’re ever in Chi-Town, don’t miss this place. We ordered several wine flights and this particular wine stood out so much so that we bought a bottle to drink later in our hotel.

It’s deep ruby red with a nose filled with raspberries, cranberry, exotic spices and the green pepper so characteristic of a Cabernet Franc. Flavors of blackberry, herbs, and pepper are balanced by soft tannins and a finish of spice and dark berries. A very nice wine and perfect for the sophisticated blues of Johnny A. Happy Easter to all of you. He is risen! 


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