Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wine Tasting Evening at Sokolowski's University Inn 16 October 2008

Every so often they will the good people at Sokolowski's University Inn in Tremont dress the place up for a special event. Last Thursday they had their first ever wine tasting, and by the reaction of the sold out crowd it was quite the success.
Eighty-five food and wine enthusiasts were treated to a five-course affair, each one featuring one of the Inn's signature dishes with a wine furnished by Heidelburg Distributors. Perogies were paired with a Pinot Noir, stuff cabbage with a Malbec Select, and Grilled Flank Steak with a Cabernet Sauvignon.
The affair was hosted by Dr. Dave Rogers, aka as "the Wine Snob," who did a great job giving the background of each wine presented, the health benefits of a glass a wine a day, and the economics of being a wise wine consumer.
The food was outstanding, the wines were very good, and the company was friendly. The evening was capped off by a dessert buffet featuring University Inn's outstanding rice pudding along with an assortment of Polish pastries called kalachis.
It was a great job by the Sokolowski's and their staff at the University Inn and the people from Heidelburg Distributors. And on top of it, for the $50 ticket price it was a bargain of an evening. For more information on Sokoloski's University Inn including upcoming special events go to www.sokolowskis.com.

"10" Tommy Wiggins Chilidog Records 2008

Tommy Wiggins is many things. He runs the Recording Arts & Technology Program at Tri-C Metro and hosts the award winning television show "Crooked River Groove," and in his spare time he makes his own music. He is a talented singer songwriter who just released his tenth effort appropriately titled "10" and it is very good. It is Wiggins' best record yet, filled with catchy original songs and featuring a line up of talented musicians.
Wiggins' music is rock and roll for adults, songs about long ago friends and events, dealing with the aging process, making sense of life’s mysterious. "Ten" features twelve tracks, all penned by Wiggins. “Sliver of Moon” is about a romantic night with a favorite woman. “Hang On” is trying to keep up as time goes by. ”Skyline Drive” and “Summer of ‘69” look back on childhood events both innocent and destructive. "Crooked River Groove," and "Bible's on the Table" are funky blues numbers.
"Ten" has more of a blues feel to it than his more recent works, with some fancy guitar work by Wiggins and Al Moss, keyboards by both Wiggins and Jackie Warren that could be mistaken for Gregg Allman, and a blues beat laid down by bassist Derek Poindexter and drummer Jon Niefeld. Guests also include local reggae statesman Carlos Jones on percussion.
Tommy Wiggins and various friends occasionally play about town, and if you got a chance check them out do so, as well as checking out this album. You won’t be disappointed. For more information on Tommy Wiggins and his music and various projects go to www.tommywiggins.com.

Nick Lowe at the Beachland Ballroom 15 October 2008

It was another night of very enjoyable music at the Beachland Ballroom last Wednesday, as Nick Lowe delivered a well received solo set featuring work from all stages of his illustrious career.
He brought out a sold out audience filled with mostly older fans, with more than a few local musicians and song writers in the crowd. Including encores he did 23 songs without taking a break, all but one an original. The set included recent songs (“People Change” and “Long Limbed Girl” from his 2007 release At My Age); gems from the classic Rockpile album Seconds of Pleasure (“Heart” and “When I Write the Book”); his own pop hits (“Cruel to be Kind” and “I Knew the Bride When She use to Rock and Roll”); hits he wrote for others (a beautiful haunting version of “What’s So Funny About Peace, Love, and Understanding” that closed the show); and fan favorites like “All Men Lie.” He even previewed an unrecorded new song “I Read A Lot” that was warmly received. The only nonoriginal was a rocking version of Eddie Cochran’s “Seven Nights to Rock” which was the last encore. All of it was wonderful, and the audience enjoyed every moment.
The themes and styles of Nick Lowe’s music flow between two extremes, the music of Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers and very early Beatles, and the ironic and sad humor and insight of classic twentieth century British poets and authors. In between songs he told a few great stories along the way in the same style, like A.E. Houseman if he had a sense of humor.
It was another seating on the floor show at the Beachland. I love it when the chairs come out there. I have seen it really rock there, but when the chairs come out it attracts an older, wiser audience that is really there for the music, and sits silently and enjoys each moment. And the crowd was void of the “We love you, Nick” and “Cleveland loves you, thanks for coming” self centered idiots that attended the recent Shelby Lynne and Roul Malo shows at the Beachland.
As always there are a lot of great shows coming up at the Beachland including Matthew Sweet this Saturday, October 25; Glass Harp doing a benefit for Roots of American Music on Saturday, November 1; Bluesman Bill “Sauce Boss” Wharton on Friday, December 12; Grace Potter and the Nocturnals on Saturday, December 13; and a rescheduled Leon Russell show on Friday, January 16. Check out their seven days a week live music calendar at www.beachlandballroom.com.
A tip of the Red Stripe bottle to Cindy Barber and her staff at the Beachland for another great night of music. Keep up the good work!