The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Michael Chapdelaine & Chad Pinot Noir

When I’m working or writing, there’s one guitarist above all other whom I love to listen to. Michael Chapdelaine has a style that bridges so many different genres that I can listen to him forever, and I often do. He is the only guitarist ever to win First Prize in the world's top competitions in both the Classical and Fingerstyle genres; the Guitar Foundation of America International Classical Guitar Competition and the National Fingerstyle Championships at the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival in Winfield , Kansas.  At Winfield he beat out over thirty-eight steel string guitarists playing a nylon string guitar. His performances, played on both steel string and classical guitars, include musical styles ranging from blues to Bach to country to rhythm n' blues.

As a classical guitarist in the 80s and 90s he proved himself one of the greatest classical guitarists after twice winning the coveted National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Grant, and taking First Prize in both the Guitar Foundation of America's and the Music Teachers National Association's Guitar Competitions. He also won the Silver Medal in Venezuela's VIII Concurso International de Guitarra "Alirio Diaz".

His 1992 recording the “Sonata Romantica CD,” now re-released as "Mexico" on his website, is acclaimed by many critics and connoisseurs of classical guitar as one of the definitive recordings for the instrument. In fact, Acoustic Guitar magazine wrote "... if I were marooned on a desert island with a limited selection of recordings, this one would be among my choices...I have seldom heard a more beautiful album. Other young guitarists have excellent technique, but few have such style and musicality, and Chapdelaine's beautiful tone is the nearest to Segovia's that I can recall." Their comment isn’t surprising since one of Michael’s teachers was Andres Segovia, universally acclaimed as the greatest classical guitarist of all time.
In 1994 Michael turned his attention to pop music, in arranging, producing and recording Time-Life Music's beautiful Guitar by Moonlight collection, which sold 250,000 copies in it's first two years in the stores. In 1998, he once again, expanded his musical range and gained instant notoriety and credibility in the "acoustic music" world as a "fingerstyle" guitarist and composer, by winning the 1998 National Fingerpicking Championships at Winfield.  
He holds a Master of Music degree from Florida State University and is Professor of Music and head of guitar studies at the University of New Mexico. Previously he’s been on the faculties of the University of Colorado at Denver and Metropolitan State University. His original compositions, which he has only recently introduced to the public, bring together a broad variety of musical styles from classical to country to blues.
His renditions of pop songs like “Somebody I Used To Know,” “She’s Leaving Home,” “California Dreamin,” and “Safe and Sound” are beautiful, yet songs like “Wipeout” and “Walk don’t Run show a playful side.” But don’t miss his classical compositions or his originals, especially “Rain Dance.” They truly demonstrate his virtuosity. He’s one of my favs and I’m sure he’ll be one of yours. Enjoy!
Heard it through the grapevine:
Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring:

I like lighter wines in summer time,  so I generally gravitate toward whites like French Sancerres, New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, or Pinot Blancs, but my main summer reds are Pinot Noirs and tonight’s 2011 Chad Pinot Noir Carneros Reserve ($19.00) is a fantastic one. I’ve been a fan of Chad wines for years through many cases of his Cabernet Sauvignons, but this Pinot is fantastic. It has a deep ruby-red color saturated to the edge. Flavors of strawberries, black cherries, rhubarb, a hint of cloves, and a touch of allspice and cardamom move in and out of the background. It’s juicy for a Pinot with a suggestion of cocoa in the background on the nose. The wine is bright with fresh acidity and a long finish. If it appears that I love this wine, it’s true. I do, and it accompanies the music of Michael Chapdelaine perfectly. Pick up a case for the summer. Enjoy!

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