By Ben Heskett
The leaves are turning in certain parts of the country and its time to settle in, pour a glass, and get turned on by some new music. It could be an interesting season – Chris Robinson Brotherhood has a new album out and I’m excited to check out Gary Clark Jr.’s debut, among just a few new releases.
Keeping things fresh, this month we’re going to feature a band that deserves more attention stateside, pure and simple. The band is Rival Sons, a Los Angeles, Calif.-based band that’s giving us something we need more of – pure, unadulterated rock ‘n’ roll steeped in the blues. Their new album is out, “Head Down,” and the first release off of it is called “Keep on Swinging,” a refreshing jolt amid another meager year of rock offerings.
Praise the Lord!
Perhaps the veteran CORKZILLA reader has heard of this outfit? Well, they are one of the few to grace the pages of the Wine and Tunes Pairing more than once. I felt their new one was deserving of such exalted status, but we’ll see what happens with the “Head Down” release – I, for one, hope they can finally put together a proper American tour, one in which they aren’t opening for some random arena rock swill. They deserve better.
It was difficult to come up with a bottle of wine that I could pair with a beloved band such as the Rival Sons, but I think I’ve coming up with a good candidate – a bottle I just recently tasted and enjoyed. Perhaps it’s the church theme of the below video for “Keep on Swinging,” or perhaps it’s the muscular, yet refined style of this wine, but this recent addition to the collection seems well-suited for this soulful ditty – the 2006 La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese Grosso.
There’s some great fruit in this Italian gem, but what really struck me just how silky the tannin composition is, and it will only get sexier with time. I look forward to an additional bottle I will save for a few years, but do yourself a favor and try and find some of this one.
Turn this one up and let us know what you think of it! Cheers!
By Joe Colgan
Although the temperature is still relatively high here in Southern California, fall is starting to make an appearance. The days of only wanting to drink white/rose wine due to the weather are starting to dwindle. The BBQ is getting a little time to relax and trips to the beach are becoming less frequent. We begin to shift our focus to more comforting/hearty foods and drink as the harvest season approaches. For me, my music appetite also tends to shift this time of year as I begin to gravitate towards songs and artists that sound like comfort food.
One of my long time favorite providers of comfort sounds is Northern California's native blues guitarist Robben Ford. Since the early days of learning the guitar back on the East Coast, Robben has been on my list of players who's sound I tried to emulate. He's got a very distinctive style and precise tone that sets him apart from the pack. He was the first player I heard that could seamlessly create a bridge between blues/rock and jazz in his solos and songwriting. It's easy to see why he's been a high demand session player since his early years, having collaborated with Miles Davis, George Harrison and Joni Mitchell, to name a few.
To pair with Robben and some very comforting blues this month, I'm going with a wine that was procured during the 'Zilla's most recent Paso Robles reconnaissance mission - The 2008 Alchemist from Booker Vineyards. The Alchemist is a powerhouse blend (80% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot) that has a beautiful inky/purple appearance in the glass; the appearance alone just oozes comfort. The wine has a earthiness/tobacco nose and a super smooth velvety texture on the palette. Although still young, the wine is well balanced now and is a great way the shift into the red wine drinking season.
This vid below is a deep pocketed version of Supernatural from the Leverkusener Jazz Festival, 2007. Robben is joined by the incrediable, Toss Panos on drums - an amazing player to see perform in person.